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 Thermodynamics and kinetics of nano particle self-assembly PhD project
(Ref. BAP-2014-145)

Occupation : Full-time
Period : Fixed-term contract
Place : Kortrijk
Apply no later than : June 30, 2014

We are looking for a motivated student with an interest in studying the self-assembly of rodlike nanoparticles.
Thermodynamics and kinetics of nano particle self-assembly PhD project

This work will be carried out as a PhD project in the newly established Renewable Materials and Nanotechnology Research Group at KU Leuven, Campus Kortrijk, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ir. Wim Thielemans.
Wim recently started this research group at KU leuven with funding from an FWO Odysseus grant after a career in the USA (University of Delaware), France (INPGrenoble) and the UK (University of Nottingham). We have access to newly refurbished las and have purchased a range of state of the art equipment for our research. We also form part of the larger Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology group at the Department of Chemical Engineering with experts in rheology, colloid science, light scattering and interfacial phenomena.
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 Nature builds very complex, multifunctional systems by assembling simple buildingblocks in a directed manner. Compared to this complexity, most manmade structures are relatively simple.

In a biomimetic approach,we aim to create hierarchical multi-functional structures with controlled long-range order through self-assembly of multifunctional rodlike nano particles.

To be able to do this, we will study the thermodynamic driving forces for self-assembly as well as the kinetic limitations that induce defects as a function of nano particle surface characteristics, solvent, temperature, other particles or solutes, etc. 

 This work builds on recent successes in the group of Prof. Thielemans in preparing cellulose nanocrystals functionalised to alter membrane and templating behaviour, to add new functionalities such as fluorescence, toenable charge hopping along the nanowhisker surface, and to prepare bioanalytical sensors.


  • Master's degree in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, or related study
  • Experience in a research project on nano particle self-assembly, light scattering, and/or thermodynamic measurements and modelling will be regarded as a plus
  • Adequate English for scientific interactions required
  • Strong motivation is a must


 The successful candidate will be offered a PhD bursary and become part of our international team with global research links to work towards a PhD degree. Funding can be provided for a period of 4 years given positive annual evaluations.

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