The two PhD positions form 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.
The Solar Fuels division at DIFFER researches methods to produce synthetic fuels efficiently using renewable sources of electricity. Chemical conversion using electricity is considered as a viable method for storage and transport of renewably generated energy and a pathway towards integrating sustainable electricity into the chemical industry.
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.
Magnum-PSI is the only device that can currently study plasma-wall interactions under plasma and neutral conditions matching those expected in the ITER divertor. This is not only important for testing divertor materials, but also for understanding and reliably extrapolating to the basic plasma processes in future fusion devices such as ITER. However, due to the fundamentally different magnetic configurations, plasma conditions in reactor divertors cannot be derived from Magnum-PSI experiments alone.
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.
Encapsulation foils are highly demanded in the production of flexible devices such as thin film transistors (TFT), organic LEDs, solar cells and so on. To bring this technology to commercial manufacturing phase, the thin film performance should be further improved and the throughput should be increased. Atmospheric-pressure PECVD is regarded as a promising tool to achieve these industrial targets because of its capability of the roll-to-roll processing and precise control over the thin film properties.