Hydrogen is an important future energy carrier, and has foreseen applications in areas as mobility, heating and power generation. For reasons of safety and control, hydrogen levels thus need to be monitored across a large variety of applications. Although hydrogen sensors are becoming more mainstream, they often work in a specific concentration range, have a limited range of sensitivity and are not hydrogen specific. Metal hydrides are metallic layers that reversibly change their electronic properties upon the absorption of hydrogen gas, and as such are particularly suited for hydrogen sensing. Traditionally used metal hydrides, like PdHx, absorb relatively little hydrogen, remain metallic and integrated in hydrogen sensors turn out to be not hydrogen specific. Complex metal hydrides, based on transition metals, are found to cross a metal-to-insulator transition, thereby drastically changing their electronic and optical properties, which make them promising candidates for specific and accurate hydrogen sensors.
The project is bridging physics with electrical engineering, and has as a particular challenge to translate the fundamental properties of complex metal hydrides studied in a first part into an application with societal relevance developed in a second part. At first, the candidate will grow multilayer samples using the NanoAccess facility of the Applied Physics department and perform optical spectroscopy measurements at GHz, THz and infrared frequencies. The candidate is further expected to build a setup where these metal films can be studied as a function of hydrogen uptake. In order to unravel the intriguing light-matter interaction of these materials, analysis will at first be based on physical models that need to be designed and programmed. Eventually, the observed physical phenomena are expected to be translated in a concept hydrogen sensor system, being accurate and of wide range and most importantly, hydrogen specific. In order to reach this goal, hybrid signal processing, using physical models and AI principles, will be performed by the candidate with internal collaboration within the Signal Processing Group. Furthermore, multiple collaborations with the Applied Physics department are foreseen.
We welcome applications from candidates with a MSc degree or equivalent in Physics, Electrical Engineering or related field. Experience with optical studies, thin film growth and (Python) programming is advantageous.
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr. J.L.M. van Mechelen, j.l.m.v.mechelen[at]tue.nl.
For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HRServices.flux[at]tue.nl.
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