July 12, 2024

ESR 11

Testing activity of small clusters to nanometer sized catalysts for methanol synthesis

Prof. Christian Danvad Damsgaard


  • To produce and test small clusters and nanoparticles for methanol activity
  • To investigate response to changes of size and composition in DTU’s microreactor platform
  • To correlate activity with composition in reduced and oxidized state using XPS

Expected Results

  • Identification of new more efficient methanol catalysts
  • Separate the methanol synthesis and the reverse water gas-shift reaction to improve selectivity
  • Find entirely new prescription of the conventional CuZn catalysts, or new catalysts of the type NiGa (intermetallic alloy) which has been proven active by standard synthesis methods


  • Catchy Outreaching Events

Planned Secondments

  • PSI for training in XAFS measurements to identify oxidations states of clusters under reaction conditions mimicking the microreactor
  • BME for computational modelling of clusters under reactions mimicking the microreactor

Job Announcement

Doctoral Student / Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position for ” Testing activity of small clusters to nanometer sized catalysts for methanol synthesis“ at SURFCAT

We are seeking the ESR 11 (doctoral student) of our recently funded Marie Sklodowska Curie-ITN CATCHY project on the “Design, implementation and production upscaling of novel, high-performance, multimetallic cluster-based catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation and electroreduction”.
The successful candidate will have obtained excellent grades in his/her Bachelor and Master degrees. He/she should also be well-motivated, hardworking and willing and able to work as part of a team. Candidates for the PhD positions should have a Master’s degree in Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Materials Science by the time they commence the project. Candidates who has shown interest/had experience in the surface science/catalysis/electrochemistry approach will be preferred.
The ESR 11 at Surface Physics & Catalysis (SURFCAT) at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) will be in charge of producing and testing mass-selected bi- and multimetallic clusters deposited on microreactors for methanol synthesis. This work includes investigating the response to changes composition and size and ultimately understand how we can tune and improve the selectivity.
The candidate will further characterize the bi- and multimetallic clusters using e.g. X-ray absorption measurements under working conditions at the Swiss Light Source with our Paul Scherrer Institute partner in Switzerland. The candidate will also be trained in computational modelling of clusters under reactions mimicking the microreactor at Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary.

Three periods of 1-2 months of mobility (secondment) at our EU partners are foreseen.

Approval and Enrolment of PhD Students
The scholarship for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU, for example in Mathematics, Physics and Informatics. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.
Salary and appointment terms
The PhD positions are for 3 years and the PhD thesis must be delivered during this period.
The starting date should be as soon as possible. Please check the employment conditions.

Further information
For further information about the research at SurfCat at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) please inspect www.surfcat.dtu.dk
Should you have any queries regarding the positions, please contact Professor Christian Danvad Damsgaard, cdda@dtu.dk

Your online application must be submitted as soon as possible and you should apply online BOTH below and at www.career.dtu.dk. Please pay attention to the specific application conditions.

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master’s degree but cannot begin before having obtained their Master with an acceptable grade, 10 or 12.
All interested candidates, irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background, are encouraged to apply.