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Reference number: D025/2017, Condensed matter physics, surface physics or physical chemistry

PhD thesis: Photoemission microscopy of liquids under operating conditions

A fundamental understanding of the electronic interactions at solid-liquid interfaces is a key to resolve principal problems in current energy-related applications. For example, the electrical double layer and its determinant function in the electrodes of batteries, capacitors and other electrochemical devices, has been known for over a century, but modern science is still looking for the detailed information on its structure. Hence, novel tools to study the double layer are still under heavy development. One of the approaches is to build a miniature electrochemical cell to be used in a photoemission microscope, which will bring spatially and spectroscopically resolved information at an unprecedented level.

Our department:
Peter-Grünberg-Institut-6 is a research institute focused on the electronic structure investigations of a matter using electron spectroscopies and microscopies. Apart from the laboratory resources available in Forschungszentrum Juelich, it governs three external state-of-the-art imaging and spectroscopic facilities – the NanoESCA endstation at synchrotron Elettra in Trieste, Italy; the HAXPEEM endstation at synchrotron Petra-III in Hamburg and the LEEM/PEEM endstation at synchrotron BESSY-II in Berlin.

Your tasks:
The aim of this work is to further develop and implement the imaging technology in operating liquid electrochemical cells using photoelectron emission microscopy. The main part of the project will be carried out at the BESSY-II synchrotron facility in Berlin, with close collaborations including NIST (USA), NIMS (Japan) and other large scale facilities in Germany (DESY Hamburg) and elsewhere.

The successful implementation of the working electrochemical cell is a prerequisite for the electrodeposition of magnetic and non-magnetic materials, functionalizing the electrodes and investigating the chemical changes of the electrode materials and the electrolyte using X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy. Achieved results will be presented at international conferences and will be published in impacted journals.

Your profile:

  • Very good academic records in condensed matter physics, surface physics or physical chemistry
  • Good written and oral communication skills in English
  • Good programming and analytical skills - Igor Pro, Matlab, Python, …
  • Experience with any of the following is a plus: ultra-high vacuum systems, synchrotron radiation, electrochemistry, electron microscopy
  • High individual motivation, ability to maintain existing and creating new international collaborations

Our offer:
The work on the project will take place in small international team and at the established experimental facility. A successful candidate will collaborate with leading experts in the respective fields and will also be included in the inter- and intra-institutional activities both in Helmholtz-Zentrum-Berlin and in Forschungszentrum Juelich.

Slavomir Nemsak, Ph.D.
Peter-Grünberg-Institut-6 (PGI-6)
Jülich Research Center