There are several PhD positions in the De Feyter group.

 

How to apply:

 

To apply, candidates should send their curriculum vitae, a motivation letter, a list of publications (if any), and the name and email address of three academic referees to Prof. Steven De Feyter (steven.defeyter@kuleuven.be)

 

The application deadline is July 10, 2018

 

Start date: January 1, 2019 at the latest. 

 

PhD position 1

The De Feyter group has recently initiated a new strategy for studying molecular self-assembly in nano-sized shallow containers created on a solid surface (ACS Nano 2015, ACS Nano 2016, Nanoscale 2017, Chemical Communications 2017). The nano-containers are produced using a two-step protocol where a covalently modified surface is subjected to nanolithography using the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. Such ‘nano-shaving’ allows fabrication of containers with well-defined size, shape and orientation which can be used for studying self-assembly in restricted environment. A unique aspect of this approach is that the container fabrication and assembly processes can be coupled together to produce unusual kinetic effects thus influencing nucleation and growth of networks.

 

The main focus of the PhD project is to elucidate how the self-assembly of organic molecules is influenced by lateral geometric confinement. Special attention will be given to understanding the nucleation and growth processes under nanoconfinement and their influence on the outcome of the assembly process.

 

Required background: The candidate must have a sound knowledge of thermodynamics, kinetics, crystallization, physical organic chemistry, and general characterization methods. Research experience in supramolecular chemistry and scanning probe microscopy will be considered a plus during the selection process. Only applicants who have excellent academic record will be considered.

 

 

PhD position 2 & PhD position 3

The De Feyter group has recently implemented an experimental protocol for tunable covalent functionalization of graphene and graphite surfaces using electrochemical activation of diazonium salts (ACS Nano 2015, ACS Nano 2016, Chemical Science 2016, Nanoscale 2017, Chemical Communications 2017) . The electrochemical reduction of diazonium reagents in the vicinity of the surface produces an aryl radical which attaches itself to the basal plane of graphite via a C-C bond. An improved design also precise control over the density of covalently attached aryl groups  via concentration control of the diazonium reagent.

 

The overarching goal of this PhD project is to gain precise control over the type, surface density, spatial arrangement and composition of functional groups on 2D carbon surfaces, such as graphite and graphene.

 

Required background: The candidate must have a sound knowledge of thermodynamics, kinetics, crystallization, physical organic chemistry, and general characterization methods. Research experience in supramolecular chemistry and scanning probe microscopy will be considered a plus during the selection process. Only applicants who have excellent academic record will be considered.

 

 

PhD position 4

Polymorphism is the ability of molecular materials to exist in more than one crystal structure. It is ubiquitous to various classes of synthetic as well as natural compounds which are used in food, explosives, pigments, semiconductors, fertilizers, and pharmaceutical industries. Polymorphs of the same compound sometimes exhibit vastly different physical properties, chemical reactivity, and biological functions. While its existence is widely acknowledged, a clear understanding of the factors that govern polymorphism is still lacking. A recent addition to this mysterious phenomenon is the discovery of the so-called substrate-induced phases (SIPs). It has been observed that when molecular materials crystallize on a solid substrate, new crystal polymorphs that differ from those existing in bulk, emerge near the interface with the substrate. There is rising interest in understanding and controlling substrate-induced polymorphism, particularly in search of new crystal polymorphs with functional properties.

 

The main target of the PhD program is to elucidate how positional and orientational order of molecules propagate from the substrate to the upper crystal layers. The experimental work will be carried out jointly between the De Feyter group (http://www.defeytergroup.org/) at KU Leuven and the Geerts group (http://www.ulb.ac.be/sciences/chimpoly) at ULB. You will undertake highly interdisciplinary research, encompassing surface science and crystal engineering in bulk, and will benefit from extensive in-house know-how of surface engineering (KU Leuven) and crystal engineering (ULB). The duration of the PhD is four years. The selected applicant will spend the first two years in the Geerts group and the remaining two in the De Feyter group. The candidate is expected to defend a high-level PhD thesis that will be jointly awarded by ULB and KUL, within four years.

 

Required background: A talented highly motivated young chemist with a solid background in physical supramolecular chemistry of self-assembly systems is actively searched. The candidate must have a sound knowledge of thermodynamics, kinetics, crystallization and characterization methods. He/she must be open-minded, hard at work, easy-going, rigorous, and have strong laboratory skills. He/she must be fluent in English. Only applicants who have excellent academic record will be considered.