PhD Student - Oxide Nanophysics group / Advanced AFM Lab


Process in the Interviews phase

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Job Title: PhD Student

Research area or group: Oxide Nanophysics group / Advanced AFM Lab

Description of Group/Project:

A PhD Position is available at the Oxide NanoPhysics Group in collaboration with the Noel Energy Oriented Materials and the Theory and Simulations Group at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, Barcelona). This project will be ascribed to National Project SURFER (Chemical Physics of Ferroelectric Surfaces), funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

SURFER project is designed to seek into energy conversion processes mediated by ferroelectricity to harvest green energies into chemical redox reactions such as photochemistry, pyrochemistry or ferrochemistry and piezochemistry, with the use of ferroelectric materials (FE).

It is a strongly multidisciplinary project covering from the development of simulation codes to understand the electrochemistry of FE oxide surfaces to the synthesis of ferroelectric hybrid heterostructures to be applied and tested in a wide range of electrochemical setups: photocatalytic water splitting, electrolysis cells with hybrid ferroelectric electrodes, piezocatalytic and flexocatalytic water splitting and redox reactions, and new photochemical controlled ferroelectric polarization devices. To this end, we will use multiscale characterization techniques such as electrochemical cells, ambient preassure XPS and advanced atomic force microscopy.  

The group is looking to hire a phd research assistant under a PhD grant from the spanish government for four years starting next year to work in the area of physical chemistry of ferroelectric surfaces. The candidate will learn from PhD students already involved in the project about the synthesis of ferroelectric oxides by PLD and sputtering techniques, and masteries in the use of surface science characterization tools (X-ray diffraction, XPS, AFM). Finally, the student will use electrochemical cells to study the energy conversion processes mediated by ferroelectric materials.


  • Education

BSc in Physics, Physical Chemistry, Materials Science or related field is essential. The applicant must also have an MSc and/or be about to get one before August 2021.

  • Knowledge and professional experience

Related to the offered position, the applicant should ideally have a background on physics or physical chemistry oriented to materials science and energy areas. In any case, our group prides itself on providing excellent education in these areas.

We seek strongly motivated young researchers willing to achieve a phD with high level of excellence. The main requirement is the willingness and skill to get involved in the setting up of the experimental facilities. Our group focuses on original research, so we place a strong premium on fresh thinking; the ideal applicant should therefore be an independent thinker, enthusiastic about learning and doing good research. For the experimental work, it is also essential a well-organized and methodological candidate. Good inter-personal skills are essential since the group is committed with excellent team spirit environment.

English is the working language of ICN2; a good level of English is mandatory.

We are fully committed to providing an equal opportunity work environment. We welcome applications from all genders and communities, and from any country.

Summary of conditions:

  • Full time work (37,5h/week)
  • PhD Grant Length: 4 years
  • Support to relocation.
  • Life Insurance.

How to apply:

All applications must be made via the ICN2 website and include the following:

  1. A cover letter.
  2. A full CV including contact details.
  3. 2 Reference letters or referee contacts.

For further enquiries, you may contact


Due to bureaucratic rules imposed by the Spanish administration, we only have two weeks to fill this post. Applicants should send their application before Sunday 18th of October, 2020.

The selected candidate's application will then be submitted for approval by the Spanish ministry of education, which will approve the grant in the first half of 2021.

The successful applicant will start working before September 2021.

Equal opportunities:

ICN2 is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Process in the Interviews phase

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