Belgium: PhD position on the Separation and Advanced Spectroscopy of Carbon Nanotubes at University of Antwerp

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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) exhibit unique and surprisingly diverse electronic, optical, and mechanical properties, strongly depending on their exact size and structure and are therefore expected to lead to a wide range of applications from ultrastrong composites to organic solar cells, organic LEDs, thin film transistors (TFTs), biomolecular sensors, nanoelectromechanical devices (NEMS), and nanofluidics. However, their actual use is often hindered by this extreme polydispersity in properties and their low solubility.

Important breakthroughs have been made in Antwerp in the processing (through solubilisation using bile salts surfactants or cholates), spectroscopic characterisation (through the high resolution achieved for the solubilised, homogeneously coated CNTs), and purification of CNTs. For instance, we demonstrated that CNT solutions contain both empty (end-capped) and water-filled (opened) CNTs, which can be separated by density gradient ultracentrifugation (DGU), and that the empty tubes exhibit much more ideal properties than the generally used (unwittingly) filled CNTs. All this opens a wide range of new research opportunities. For instance, the empty (undamaged, hence full length) CNTs can be sorted more precisely according to diameter, electronic type (metallic or semiconducting), and chiral structure by DGU.

In this project, you will combine the further development of these separation methods with state-of-the-art optical and laser-spectroscopic techniques, available within the research group (including high-resolution resonant Raman and ultrasensitive IR fluorescence-excitation  spectroscopy and microscopy with a wide range of laser systems), in order to unravel the unique properties of these newly isolated intact CNTs and their composites with functional molecules and polymers.


You obtained a diploma of Master in Physics, Chemistry, or Engineer in a related field, with excellent grades. You are very motivated for experimental scientific research and you wish to prepare a PhD thesis in this area of research.

Also in case you are interested and you have not obtained your diploma yet, but expect to do so in the near future, please apply already.

We offer

A salary for four years funded by an FWO project, and the opportunity to perform research in a multidisciplinary environment with state-of-the-art experimental equipment.

Starting date: 2013 (exact date to be agreed with candidate).


Send your motivation letter with CV and contact information of any references to: sofie.cambre(at); mentioning our reference “VacCNT13” in the subject line.

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