March 7, 2021


Understanding bifunctional reaction mechanisms in CO2 hydrogenation on free clusters

Dr. Joost M. Bakker / Prof. Andrei. Kirilyuk


  • To investigate target materials to create alloyed clusters (e.g. Cu/Zn, Ni/Ga) of exact elemental composition and size in a laser vaporization source
  • To investigate their reactive and catalytic properties under CO2 hydrogenation as a function of cluster charge, structural motif and alloying composition
  • characterize the structure of the clusters, cluster-molecule complexes, and intermediate products using IR photofragmentation spectroscopy

Expected Results

  • Fundamental insight in the variation of reactive and catalytic properties of these clusters in CO2 hydrogenation, relating to e.g. local charge, structural motif and alloying composition; identification of alloy bifunctional reaction mechanisms


  • Catchy Outreaching Events

Planned Secondments

  • UU for ion trap experiments to study cluster reactivity
  • FETI for DFT calculations describing observed IR spectra and kinetics
  • DTU for training in chemical process considerations for catalyst design

Job Announcement

Doctoral Student / Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position

We are seeking an Early-stage Researcher (Ph.D. 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 (physical) Chemistry, Physics or a closely related subject, be enthusiastic about experimental research, and ideally have a background in one or more of the following fields: physical chemistry, laser physics, theoretical chemistry, catalysis, mass spectrometry.

As a PhD Candidate you will study the gas phase hydrogenation reaction of CO2 over bimetallic clusters with as main goal is to gain fundamental insight into the initial elementary steps in the catalytic conversion of CO2 into useful chemicals. Your work will be a combined experimental-theoretical approach, but will predominantly entail experimental research, where you will use the FELIX free-electron lasers to study the reaction products of CO2 interacting with other molecules on the surface of gas-phase metal clusters.

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 with an additional year funded by Radboud University. 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.