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The section for Imaging and Structural Analysis (ISA) in the Department of Energy Conversion and Storage at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is seeking a candidate for a Ph.D. position as part of a Danish Research Council project on in-situ transmission electron microscopy on operating electrochemical cells for energy applications.

DTU Energy Conversion is among the world’s leaders in the research and development of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and other energy conversion technologies. DTU Energy Conversion has cutting edge facilities and competences for fabrication, testing and characterisation of energy conversion technologies.

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with DTU’s Center for Electron Nanoscopy.

Project aims
Solid oxide fuel/electrolysis cells (SOFC/SOEC) will play an important role in future efficient and environmentally friendly energy systems if a better long term performance of the cells can be achieved. Impressive performance improvements have recently been reported for cells with specific multiphase nano-structures, but structural and compositional nano-scaled changes can also lead to deactivation.

The dynamics of the critical structures are not understood, and further studies are hampered since there are no available methods which offer in situ characterization of operating cells with nano-scale spatial resolution. The project will develop a method for in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of operating solid oxide electrochemical cells.


The aim is to record TEM image sequences (movies) with atomic resolution of the active nanostructures in the SOFC/SOEC during operation. To do this, model SOFC/SOEC systems will be developed and integrated into a TEM holder so that heating, electrical currents and exposure to reactive gas environments all are integrated at the same time.

The goal is direct insight into the nano-scale dynamics of the operating SOFC/SOEC during exposure to elevated temperatures, electrical currents and a reactive gas environment. This will be a key factor in developing more efficient and stable SOFCs/SOECs.

Job description
As an ISA PhD candidate you will be part of the ISA team, interacting regularly with researchers at DTU Energy Conversion and researchers at DTU CEN. The PhD position has a multidisciplinary nature and thus you will need to draw on the knowledge of several experts to reach the project aims.

You will need to develop strong competences in design and preparation of electrochemical model cells with pulsed laser deposition (PLD) and with a focused ion beam (FIB) and in characterisation by in-situ transmission electron microscopy.

Beside these you will also need to develop competences in electrochemical characterisation to quantify cell performance and fundamental theories of electrochemical cells. A natural part of the PhD project will also be image processing to quantify transmission electron microscopy data, and management/analysis of large datasets.

It is expected that you will spend up to half a year of research based at our international university partner Nagoya University in Japan.


  • Master degree in Material Science, Physics, Chemistry or similar.
  • Experience with experimental laboratory work, for instance electron microscopy, pulsed laser deposition (PLD), electrochemical measurements or clean room, is preferable.
  • Good communication skills in both written and spoken English.
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated tasks, to perform both delicate hands-on experimental work and perform theoretical based data analysis, to be part of a dynamical multi-disciplinary group, and to network both with project partners and international collaborators

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the PhD guide.

Salary and appointment terms
Salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD degree students in Denmark.

The period of employment is 3 years and the place of work is at DTU Energy Conversion on Risø Campus.

Further Information
Applicants are welcome to contact the project supervisors Head of Section (ISA) Luise Theil Kuhn or Researcher Søren Bredmose Simonsen for more information. General information about the Department is available at http://ecs.dtu.dk  

We must have your online application by Sunday 27 July 2014. Material received after this date will not be considered. Please open the link "apply online", complete the application form and attach the following mandatory documents:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc and MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

Job interviews will be scheduled within two weeks after the application deadline. The position is scheduled to start on 1 October 2014.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, inability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and public service. Our staff of 5,700 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,000 students are educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

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