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Academic Employee / PhD Student (f/m/d) (67%)
Promotional topic: Chemical Imaging of Catalysts in 2D/3D with X-ray Microscopy and Tomography

Organizational unit

Institute for Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry (ITCP)

Job description

The “X-ray Microscopy in Catalysis” (XRM) group strives to understand the structure and function of heterogeneous catalytic materials and processes - promoting efficient chemical synthesis, energy conversion technologies, and emission control. To achieve this, we perform advanced X-ray imaging at synchrotron light sources - allowing deep structural analysis across multiple dimensions (2D/3D), on hierarchical length scales (nm to mm) and under realistic reaction conditions (in situ/operando). These chemical imaging tools are supported by spectroscopic, microscopic, and diffraction-based characterization to develop a holistic view of catalysts and functional materials in action.

We are currently seeking a highly motivated, proactive researcher (f/m/d) to join our new project based within the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC1441) TrackAct - “Tracking the Active Site in Heterogeneous Catalysis for Emission Control”. The CRC is coordinated by KIT, in close collaboration with the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) ( As part of the XRM group, you will develop understanding of complex chemical systems and processes in the field of catalytic emissions control - focusing on novel technical grade catalysts developed within the CRC. To achieve this, you will employ X-ray microscopy and tomography, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, and developing imaging techniques such as X-ray ptychography.

This PhD position is in close cooperation with the world-leading synchrotron light source DESY (Hamburg, Germany), a multidisciplinary and cohesive environment shared by many branches of science and engineering. You will have the opportunity to participate in experiments at other synchrotron radiation sources worldwide in cooperation with the project partners. The PhD position is a unique opportunity to develop a career in research at the frontiers of chemistry, physics and materials science. The candidate will spend a significant amount of the time as scientist in Hamburg, Germany.


  • Develop and utilize experimental infrastructure for in situ/operando X-ray microscopy.
  • Combine X-ray microscopy, spectroscopy, fluorescence, diffraction, and mass spectrometry to understand catalyst structure-activity relationships.
  • Perform efficient data analysis on multimodal imaging and spectroscopy data, in order to visualize the structure and function of catalyst samples.
  • Develop excellent teamwork and communication skills, engage in strong collaboration with project partners, be willing to travel and thrive in an interdisciplinary research environment.

Starting date

zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt/as soon as possible

Personal qualification

You hold a very good Master’s degree in Chemistry or Physics, with a focus on at least one of the following: (i) X-ray science - particularly microscopy/tomography; (ii) heterogeneous catalysis, (iii) in situ/operando methods.

Besides the professional qualifications above, the ideal candidate has one or more of the following qualities: a strong affinity for experimentation, enjoys extracting value from complex data (particularly imaging data), and previous work experience at a large-scale research facility. Programming skills (e.g. Python, Matlab) are highly desirable. Formal training in project management, organisation, or communication skills are an advantage. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential, German skills are a plus.

Your application must include: (i) CV, (ii) letter of motivation clearly addressing your suitability for the role, (iii) contact details of 2 referees. Please note this offer is not for a Postdoc position.


Salary category 13, depending on the fulfillment of professional and personal requirements.

Contract duration

limited to three years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For subject-specific information please contact Dr. Thomas Sheppard (, Tel. +49 (0)721/608-47989. This PhD work will be carried out under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Sheppard.

Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 1018/2021.

Ausschreibungsnummer: 1018/2021

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:
Ms Brückner
Phone: +49 721 608-42016,

Kaiserstr. 12, 76131 Karlsruhe