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.

This is a joint position between Functional Inorganic Materials Group (Kovalenko Lab, ETH Zurich) and Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces Laboratory (Shorubalko Group, Calame Lab, Empa, Dübendorf)

The research activities in FIMG are focused on challenges related to the chemistry, physics, and applications of inorganic materials ranging from nanostructures to powders, thin films, and single crystals. Central to our efforts is the synthesis of inorganic materials and their integration or self-assembly into multifunctional solid-state structures. Synthetic work and rigorous materials characterization are the cornerstones of our research.

LTNI focuses on the fabrication of the atomically-precise nanostructures and low-dimensional materials and investigation of their fundamental electronic, optoelectronic, thermal, and ionic transport properties. The group has a broad expertise in heterogeneous integration of novel nanomaterials by custom-made methods for nanoscale patterning and interfaces nanostructuring.

PhD position: Surface chemistry of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals (ETH-Empa)

Job description

This project aims at the development of colloidal nanocrystals for thermoelectric application. Central to the project will be the chemical synthesis of nanocrystals, tailoring and characterization of their surface chemistry, followed by their assembly into densely packed solids. Hot-injection techniques will be used to synthesize colloidal nanocrystals with the main focus on near-IR-active materials (e.g., PbS) but also including lead halide perovskites. Exploration of various ligands (halides and chalcogenides) and ligand exchange techniques (solution-processed and solid-state) will be a core part of the project. One of the goals is to produce superlattices of electronically-coupled nanocrystals. Another part of the project will include characterization of electronic and thermal properties of these superlattices (thermal and electrical conductivities and Seebeck coefficient).

The research activities will involve:

The preferred start is in the fall of 2020 or upon agreement.

Your profile
  • Candidates should have recently obtained a master degree in chemistry with outstanding grades
  • Excellent knowledge of inorganic chemistry and strong experimental background in chemistry
  • A keen interest in bridging chemistry and physics
  • Experience in micro-nano-technology for device fabrication will be beneficial


We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • 2-3 recommendation letters
  • Academic transcripts of B.Sc. and M.Sc. educations

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through the online portal of ETH Zurich: https://www.jobs.ethz.ch/job/view/JOPG_ethz_Id96CMNdTsNR8LeW4N

Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.