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PhD position (Bio)Chemistry/Nanoscience/Photovoltaics (1,0 fte)
Vacancy number 212141
The goal of this project is to use a combination of soft lithography and an unconventional nanofabrication technique known as Nanoskiving to fabricate photovoltaic (PV) devices from the photosynthetic center of organisms, PSI. The available materials for conventional methods for fabricating PV devices using PSI are poorly matched to the unique energetics of PSI, which itself is a delicate ensemble of proteins that does not tolerate the harsh conditions of etching and photolithographic processes. Nanoskiving, by contrast, is a mechanical process that enables the use of soft materials such as conjugated polymers to construct nanowires that directly contact PSI. In this project, you will fabricate PV devices by the self-assembly of PSI and the installation of a variety of soft electrode materials via Nanoskiving to find the optimal combination to maximize the efficiency of the conversion of light into electricity. You will also develope "self-fabricating soft devices" using a combination of non-Newtonian liquid metals and soft lithography to produce large-area solar cells that use efficient redox-couples to generate electricity from PSI and light.
This project is interdisciplinary and the ideal candidate will have a Masters (or equivalent) degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry and have some prior knowledge of photovoltaics (or photophysics, or experience working with PSI) and the ability to perform basic electrical measurements. You will be using PSI complexes supplied by a collaborator to fabricate devices by Nanoskiving (not photolithography), working with microfluidic devices, performing some wet chemistry, and measuring and characterizing photovoltaic devices. As this project is collaborative, you must be able to work closely with others in the lab and to work simultaneously on different aspects of the research project. You must be flexible and comfortable with interdisciplinary research, open-minded, and above all willing to formulate and execute your own unique ideas to solve problems that will arise during the course of this project. This project breaks new ground and applies cutting-edge techniques to address a very difficult problem; do not expect to walk onto a half-finished project and be told what to do. It is likely that this project will branch out to include other biological molecules or systems and exploration, creativity, and innovation are highly encouraged. Fluency in English is absolutely required.
Conditions of employment
The University of Groningen offers a salary of €2,042 gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of €2,612 gross per month in the fourth year. It is a temporary assignment for a period of four years. First you will get a temporary position of one year with the perspective of prolongation with another three years. Before the end of the first year, there will be an evaluation as to the feasibility of successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years.
The preferred starting date is as soon as possible.
Please click the 'Apply Now' button to submit your application with curriculum vitae before 1 October 2012, using the online application form.
This position is in an interdisciplinary group in the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials at the University of Groningen. We focus on molecular electronics using self-assembled monolayers, unconventional nanofabrication, and organic photovoltaics. Our lab is dynamic and international, with people from different scientific and geographical backgrounds.