The present vacancy is for a shared PhD position between the Nanomaterials for Energy Applications (NEA) group of dr. Andrea Baldi and the Photonics for Energy (PfE) group of prof. dr. Jaime Gomez Rivas.
This position is part of a recently granted NWO project, entitled CO2SPARE, which is aimed at the valorisation of CO2 in biogas. This project is executed jointly with the Non-equilibrium Fuel Conversion (NFC) group of DIFFER. It entails fundamental studies of the reverse Boudouard reaction, in support of an overall process involving pyrolysis of methane follows by reaction of CO2 with the carbon thus formed.
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The PhD position is part of a project (granted within the NWO Solar-to-Products programme) in which a plasma approach to dry reforming (i.e. conversion of CO2 and CH4 into synthesis gas) is investigated. The plasma approach enables compatibility with (intermittent) sustainable energy sources. An innovative combination of non-equilibrium CO2 activation and thermal CH4 decomposition is investigated to allow for selective and energy efficient conversion of biogas into valuable chemicals and/or liquid fuels.
In the PSN group we are interested in the strong interaction between light and matter. This is a quickly evolving field of research in which new materials, experimental techniques and theories are realized continuously. In our group, we have developed a unique near-field microscope that can detect and analyse radiation in the deep infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, i.e., the terahertz (THz) frequency range. This region holds great promise for applications in non-invasive testing, imaging and spectroscopy as well as high speed wireless communication.
The PhD project involves physics of magnetically confined plasma for fusion energy, and control theory. In a magnetic confinement fusion reactor it may prove desirable to operate at the minimum power that allows for so-called H-mode energy confinement. At lower power a bifurcation occurs: sudden fall-back to poorer L-mode energy confinement and hence a drop in fusion power. A number of physics processes have been identified that could play a role in these transitions.
Strong-light matter coupling has emerged as a major cross-disciplinary field of study over recent years. This regime was originally constrained to the realm of low-temperature studies, however, extensions to room temperature through advances in the fabrication of nanophotonic structures have opened the door for numerous new research lines. In this manner, strong-coupling has been proposed as a means for modifying the internal physics of condensed matter systems, with great potential for light-harvesting, energy-transport and catalysis.
Strong-light matter coupling has emerged as a major cross-disciplinary field of study over recent years. This regime was originally constrained to the realm of low-temperature studies, however, extensions to room temperature through advances in the fabrication of nanophotonic structures have opened the door for numerous new research lines.
Two dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene, black phosphorous, and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) exhibit fascinating physical properties due to their specific band structure and reduced dimensionality. In recent years, TMDs (MX2, where M = Mo, W and X = S, Se) particularly are of much interest from a fundamental point of view but they also provide an excellent platform for ultrathin optoelectronic and photonic devices.
The discovery of new energy materials is becoming a large-scale challenge that is far beyond the reach of experimentation but also stretching the limits of conventional computation. At DIFFER; we are working on to improve the speed and the prediction power of computation for the discovery of new solar energy conversion and energy storage materials.