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Postdoc Experimental and theoretical investigation of organic aerogel formation

Postdoc Experimental and theoretical investigation of organic aerogel formation

(Postdoctoraal) onderzoeker
Irène Curie Fellowship
Chemical Engineering and Chemistry


Aerogels are advanced structural materials with low density, meso-microstructure, high open porosity and specific surface area.  They are typically prepared from suitable wet gels by turning the pore-filling solvent into a supercritical fluid that is vented off. Thanks to their excellent characteristic, aerogels are the best lightweight thermal-insulating materials which can be used for energy and resource efficient buildings and housing construction with reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Furthermore, aerogels can be envisioned as advanced materials for energy storage applications, chemical adsorption, catalytic and aerospace applications.

In this program we aim to pave the way towards the next generation of organic aerogels with outstanding properties. The research activities include optimization of polymer structure and aerogel properties as well as the understanding of correlation between the chemistry, sol-gel process and the final aerogel properties. Key elements in this project are the fundamental understanding of the sol-gel and gel-aerogel transitions and the importance of the gelation solvent and kinetics of the employed materials, and they are essential for the development of new aerogels with outstanding performance. This requires in-depth analysis of the evolution of the structure and properties of materials in real time. This challenge will be addressed experimentally as well as by means of theoretical modelling to quantify the polymeric sol-gel and gel-aerogel transitions during formation of aerogels and gain understanding of the role of the gelation solvent. We aim at optimising polymer structures to arrive at desired aerogel properties. The nano- and meso-structures that evolve during the sol-gel-aerogel process will be studied using various advanced characterization techniques and studies at the molecular level (NMR, GC-MS, IR, XRD, SAXS), primary nanoparticle level (DLS, TEM) and the mesoscopic assembly level (SEM, TEM), over different time scales. This will be input for further model development on predicting, understanding and being able to tune the structures of aerogels and their functionality, such as the thermal conductivity of them.

The research will be conducted in close collaboration between two TU/e research groups: Polymer Performance Materials (SPM) and Physical Chemistry (SPC) which are part of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the TU/e (The Netherlands). A description of the groups can be found here.


  • We seek highly talented, motivated, and enthusiastic candidates with an PhD degree in physical chemistry, polymer chemistry, organic chemistry, or a related discipline.
  • The successful candidate has a solid background in physical chemistry and polymer chemistry.
  • Experience with experimental colloid science is essential. Insight into theoretical modelling or experience with using theory is desirable.
  • Analytical skills, initiative and creativity are highly desired.
  • Excellent communication (oral and writing) skills in English (prerequisite).
  • You are a naturally curious person, eager to learn more and with a strong interest in science and research.
  • Strong motivation to do original, fundamental research in an interdisciplinary team.
  • We prefer candidates with a good team spirit, who like to work in an internationally oriented, social environment.

An interview and a scientific presentation are part of the selection process. 


  • We offer challenging jobs in a highly motivated international teams at a dynamic and ambitious university. You will work with innovative analytic equipment, and you will be part of a highly profiled multidisciplinary collaboration where expertise of a variety of disciplines comes together.
  • A full-time employment for 18 months.
  • The TU/e is located in one of the smartest regions of the world and part of the European technology hotspot ‘Brainport Eindhoven’; well-known because of many high-tech industries and start-ups. A place to be for talented scientists!
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour 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.
  • A TU/e Postdoc Association that helps you to build a stronger and broader academic and personal network, and offers tailored support, training and workshops.
  • A Staff Immigration Team is available for international candidates, as are a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) and a compensation for moving expenses.

Informatie en sollicitatie

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


For more detailed information about this position, please contact Prof. Željko Tomović (email z.tomovic[at] or Prof.  Remco  Tuinier (email r.tuinier[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact mr. Leo van Houten HR-advisor, email l.v.houten[at]

More information about Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the department of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry is available at

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page


Please send your application via the Apply-now button and upload your

  • Cover letter briefly describing your qualifications and motivation for this position.
  • Curriculum vitae including a publication list and the contact details of three references.
  • List of BSc and MSc courses and grades.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

You can upload a maximum of 5 documents of up to 2MB each. Only applications that are submitted in this way are taken into account.