Empa - the place where innovation starts

Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.

The Laboratory for Advanced Analytical Technology at Empa is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to work in the field of solid state physics, surface science and catalysis.

PhD Candidate on Ultra-High Pressure Hydride X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy


The PhD student at Empa will utilize the so-called membrane approach to prepare and measure in-situ various ionic and intermetallic hydrides as a function of the chemical potential of hydrogen, which will deliver insightful knowledge on the electronic structure of hydrides. In a second task, he or she will apply the method to elucidate the mechanism of the enhanced hydrogen desorption from hydrogen membranes upon application of polymer coatings. Finding the physical origin of the remarkable effect may help to functionalize also hydrogen permeable metals other than Pd. Finally, the catalytic formation/decomposition of the C-H bond is one of the main challenges in synthetic chemistry, due to the strong covalent nature of this bond. The (de-) hydrogenation reactions of hydrocarbons, which take place at several tens of bar, are catalysed by Pd, Ru, or similarly expensive and scarce elements. The planned experiments on the hydrogenation of unsaturated hydrocarbons using the Pd-membrane mimic the technical process, so that information on the reaction can be drawn.

You are a highly motivated experimentalist with a Master in chemistry, materials science or a discipline related to beamline spectroscopy or chemical analysis. You have proven hands-on laboratory experience with customized scientific instrumentation and vacuum technology. Demonstrated skills with data processing, routine or lab-view programming, and instrumentation design are particularly appreciated. We are considering only complete applications via web portal, i.e. including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, diplomas, list of publications, short statement of research interests, and three letters of recommendation.

Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The tentative start date is 1st December 2017 or upon mutual agreement.

For further information about the position please contact Andreas Borgschulte, andreas.borgschulte@empa.ch and visit our websites www.empa.ch/web/s502 and Empa-Video.

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts and contact details of two referees. Please upload the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.

Empa, Shalini Kapur, Human Resources, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.