The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. We perform cutting-edge research in the fields of future technologies, energy and climate, health innovation and fundamentals of nature. By performing fundamental and applied research, we work on sustainable solutions for major challenges facing society, science and economy. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore, about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether, PSI employs 2200 people. In the framework of the SNSF-funded project “Safe entrapment of As and Se in zeolites: Mechanistic understanding obtained from spectroscopic investigations and atomistic simulations”, we are looking for a PhD Student dedicated to experimental and theoretical studies of As and Se incorporation in zeolites. The project is jointly implemented at PSI, Empa and the University of Bern and includes the synthesis and characterisation of zeolites, experimental investigation and thermodynamic modelling of dissolution / precipitation processes, and spectroscopic characterization of corrosion products at international synchrotron facilities (e.g., France, Switzerland, UK and US). We are looking for a

PhD Student in the field of Geochemistry and Materials Science

Your tasks

The project aims to decipher the entrapment mechanism of As and Se in zeolites at a molecular scale by spectroscopic investigations and atomistic simulations. As a PhD Student you will be registered in the Institute of Geology in the University of Bern and your main work will be shared between PSI and Empa.
During your 4-year PhD study you will:
  • Synthesise and characterise zeolites in the presence of As and Se
  • Carry out XAS measurements to elucidate the local environment of As and Se species in zeolites
  • Investigate the leaching behaviour of Se and As from zeolites
  • Perform thermodynamic modelling of the uptake of As and Se by zeolites

Your profile

  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in geochemistry, mineralogy, chemistry, physics, materials, or environmental sciences
  • Creative, hands-on personality
  • Motivated and able to work in the laboratory
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
  • Well-developed communication skills, self-organisation and time management, and good command of the English language (spoken and written)
Knowledge of cement chemistry, spectroscopic methods and/or thermodynamic modelling is an asset. The project is highly interdisciplinary and we welcome applicants with appropriate skill sets coming from a range of disciplinary backgrounds.

We offer

Our institution is based on an interdisciplinary, innovative and dynamic collaboration. You will profit from a systematic training on the job, in addition to personal development possibilities and our pronounced vocational training culture. If you wish to optimally combine work and family life or other personal interests, we are able to support you with our modern employment conditions and the on-site infrastructure. 
For further information, please contact Dr Rainer Dähn, phone +41 56 310 21 75.

Please submit your application online by 30 June 2024 (including addresses of referees) for the position as a PhD Student (index no. 4402-00).

Paul Scherrer Institut, Human Resources Management, Serdal Varol, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland