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31-2021-IPS PhD Position: Soft x-ray spectroscopy of transition metal oxide electrocatalysts

Organizational unit

Institute for Photon Science and Synchrotron Radiation (IPS)

Job description

The Institute for Photon Science and Synchrotron Radiation (IPS) is announcing a PhD position (EG 13, 75 %) in the field of electronic structure characterization of transition metal oxide electrocatalysts.

In the framework of an international joint project between the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and the KIT, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the German Science Foundation (DFG), you will work on further developing cutting-edge soft x-ray spectroscopy to describe the electronic (and chemical) structure of FexNi100-xO(H)y electrocatalyst materials. These materials are at the forefront of alkaline electrocatalysis, including the oxygen evolution half reaction (OER) of water electrolysis. For further development of these catalysts, an in-depth understanding of the d-state electronic structure of Fe (and Ni) in these oxides is essential. To do this, the project combines coordinated soft x-ray spectroscopic, electrochemical, and theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of FexNi100-xO(H)y and other AxB100-xO(H)y transition metal oxides.

X-ray spectroscopy experiments are conducted at the X-SPEC beamline at the KIT synchrotron and the Advanced Light Source (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA). Your thesis will be embedded in the described international research network with regular exchange visits.


  • Characterization of the chemical and electronic structure of FexNi100-xO(H)y and other AxB100-xO(H)y transition metal oxides
  • Further developing and optimizing the x-ray spectroscopy techniques for the investigated material system
  • Planning and conducting experiments in the lab at KIT and at synchrotron light sources in Germany and the U.S.
  • Maintenance and optimization of ultra-high vacuum (UHV) spectroscopy systems

Starting date

as soon as possible

Personal qualification

  • Masters (Diploma) in Physics, Chemistry, Material Science, or equivalent
  • Experience in handling UHV equipment
  • Preferably experience in x-ray and electron-based spectroscopies (XPS, UPS, IPES, XES, and/or XAS)
  • Enthusiasm for team-based science and its application in electrocatalysis
  • Very good English skills

Contract duration

limited to 3 years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Lothar Weinhardt, e-mail:

Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 31-2021-IPS.

Ausschreibungsnummer: 31-2021-IPS

We prefer to balance the number of employees (f/m/d). Therefore we kindly ask female applicants to apply for this job.
Recognized severely disabled persons will be preferred if they are equally qualified.


Personnel Support is provided by:
Personalservice (PSE) - Human Resources
Ms Kaiser
Phone: +49 721 608-22438,

Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany