February 25, 2021

ESR 12

Testing activity of small cluster to nanometre-sized catalyst for electrochemical CO2 hydrogenation

Prof. Jakob Kibsgaard


  • To test small clusters and nanoparticles for CO2 activity;
  • To investigate response to changes of size and composition in our electrochemical cell and characterize its Faradaic efficiency towards useful compounds like ethylene and ethanol;
  • To correlate activity with composition in reduced and oxidized state using XPS and in situ XAFS methods.

Expected Results

  • To identify new efficient catalysts with high selectivity towards products like ethylene or ethanol.
  • Understand how we can tune the selectivity and target high value products like aldehydes.
  • Understand the correlation between size, composition, oxidation state and activity.
  • Understand how these methods could be scaled up.


  • Catchy Outreaching Events

Planned Secondments

  • TCL for training in magnetron technology and upscaling of cluster production;
  • KUL for training in producing complementary clusters;
  • PSI for training in XAFS measurements to identify oxidation state of clusters under working conditions.

Job Announcement

Doctoral Student / Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position for ” Testing activity of small cluster to nanometre-sized catalyst for electrochemical CO2 hydrogenation“ at SURFCAT
We are seeking the ESR 12 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 12 at Surface Physics & Catalysis (SURFACT) at the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) will be in charge of testing mass-selected bi- and multimetallic clusters deposited suitable substrates for electrochemical CO2 hydrogenation. This work includes investigating the response to changes composition and size and ultimately understand how we can tune the selectivity and target high value products like ethylene and ethanol.
The candidate will further characterize the bi- and multimetallic clusters using e.g. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to correlate catalytic activity and selectivity with composition and oxidation state. The candidate will also be trained and participate in X-ray absorption measurements under working conditions at the Swiss Light Source with our partner Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. The candidate will also be trained in cluster production at our partners in Teer Coatings Limited, UK and KU Leuven, Belgium.
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 ideally be May 2021, or before July 2021. 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 Associate Professor Jakob Kibsgaard, jkib@fysik.dtu.dk
Your online application must be submitted no later than January 31st 2021 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.