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November 26, 2020


Large scale production of deposited clusters on powders and electrodes

Dr. Jinlong Yin / Prof. Ewald Janssens (KUL)


  • to implement new concepts/approaches (e.g. hollow cathode sputtering) to scale up the cluster production
  • to prepare and characterize the structure of the alloy clusters prepared on the up-scaled system
  • to investigate the influencing factors on the growth of clusters under extreme conditions, and propose the most likely physical mechanism.

Expected Results

  • Identification of the most critical factor for the large-scale production of clusters; better understanding of the physical process happened in the aggregation zone
  • knowledge on the size and composition control of alloy clusters; large scale production of cluster-based Thermo- and Electro-Catalysts.


  • Catchy Outreaching Events

Planned Secondments

  • Training in characterization of size-controlled alloy clusters by TPD at KUL and by TEM at UA
  • investigate ECs properties of a cluster decorated CME-EC system at VITO.

Job announcement

Doctoral Student / Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position

We are seeking the ESR 2 (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 electro-reduction”.

Candidates should have (or be about to obtain) a master degree in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related subject, be enthusiastic about experimental research, and ideally have a background in one or more of the following fields: plasma physics, finite element modelling, nanoscale physics, physical chemistry, or catalytic chemistry. The experience/skills of running PVD/CVD process, or similar vacuum instrument, is highly desired, but not essential.

The ESR2 will be registered at the KU Leuven, Belgium as a PhD student, and at the same time, join the R&D team at Teer Coatings Ltd, UK as an early stage researcher. The ESR2 will be based in Teer Coatings to carry out his/her daily research work , while he/she would also need to study no less than 6 months (accumulated time) at KU Leuven campus to fulfil the University’s requirement for a PhD student.  Frequent travel between the UK and Belgium is expected throughout the Catchy project.

The ESR2 will prepare and characterise single-element/alloy nano-cluster catalysts on electrodes using cluster-beam deposition instrument capable of size-selection, and deposit such nano-clusters on oxide powders for catalytic application using Teer’s unique high-flux cluster deposition equipment. New concepts/approaches (e.g. hollow cathode sputtering) should be proposed, explored, and implemented for scaling up of nano-cluster production, driven by industrial requirement. Due to the complex nature of the cluster formation in the high pressure plasma sputtering environment, the ESR2 is expected to carry out aerodynamic and sputtering physics simulation to better understand how the key factors will influence the nucleation and growth of the clusters, which is a critical step for the scaling-up.

In parallel he/she will complete the investigation by testing the catalytic activity and selectivity of nano-cluster catalyst on oxide powders in a gas flow microreactor at project partner’s lab. Three periods of 1-2 months of mobility (secondment) at our EU partners are foreseen.

The position is funded by the EU for a duration of 3 years. The starting date should ideally be May 2021, or before July 2021.
Please check the employment conditions and apply online below before January 31st 2021.