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PhD in Atomic layer deposition of electrocatalysis for H2O splitting

PhD in Atomic layer deposition of electrocatalysis for H2O splitting

Applied Physics


Meeting the world’s energy requirements by adopting renewable sources such as wind and solar energy, demands also viable solutions in terms of electricity storage. A valid approach is water electrolysis, yielding hydrogen and oxygen, which can then convert back to electricity on-demand or serve as building blocks to produce synthetic fuels. However, the energy efficiency of the water electrolysis process currently employed in the industry is limited by the sluggish kinetics and high overpotential of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). State-of-the art catalysts for the OER with much higher activities and lower overpotentials than those used in industry are available, but they consist of noble metal oxides. Although these catalysts lead to high energy efficiencies, the resources they are made of, are scarce, and as such, they are not suitable for large-scale deployment. Alternative catalysts are needed, based only on earth-abundant elements, while still providing excellent energy efficiencies.

Are you up to the challenge and become our next PhD student, eager to design, synthesize and test novel and cost-effective OER electrocatalysts?

Job Description

The Plasma and Materials Processing (PMP) group at the Applied Physics department of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Catalytic and Electrochemical Processes for Energy Applications (CEPEA) group at the Solar Fuels theme of Dutch Institute For Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) are looking for you to address the above-mentioned challenge.

The novel electrocatalysts will be engineered by atomic layer deposition (ALD) at TU/e and then characterized by state-of-the art thin film diagnostics. In parallel, they will be tested at DIFFER, where their performance towards H2O splitting will be evaluated as function of the electro-catalyst chemical and structural properties. You will work closely with other researchers in the PMP group at TU/e and CEPEA group at DIFFER under the supervision of prof. dr. M. Creatore (PMP, TU/e) and dr. M. Tsampas (CEPEA, DIFFER). Very recently, we have synthesized cobalt phosphate (CoPi) by ALD and showed that ALD offers the opportunity to tune the chemical composition of the electrocatalyst in terms of Co-to-P ratio. Within this PhD project, you will be exploiting further this unique capability of ALD and studying the relationship between the chemical and morphological properties of pristine CoPi, of CoPi during activation upon repeatedly cycling the applied potential and its OER activity. Moreover, you will explore ALD for the synthesis of other Co-based OER electrocatalysts.

Next to the supervision of BSc and MSc students in their research projects, other assistance in education, e.g. in bachelor courses, is usually included, approximately counting for 5% of your contract time.


  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in (Applied) Physics, Chemistry, Nanotechnologies or Material Science.
  • Expertise in gas phase deposition technologies (CVD, plasma-CVD, ALD) and thin film diagnostics. Also, background and experience in electrocatalysis is very welcome.
  • A research-oriented attitude and a strong motivation and independence to tackle and complete challenging and multi-disciplinary research.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.


  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Informatie en sollicitatie

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
Prof.dr. M. (Adriana) Creatore, m.creatore[at]

For information concerning employment conditions click here

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'solliciteer nu'-button on this page.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Transcripts of BSc and MSc degrees with courses and grades
  • Digital copies of your BSc and MSc theses.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.
Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.