Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

PhD scholarship in Nano-patterning of 2D materials by directed self-assembly

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

Nanostructured 2D materials have fascinating electronic and optical properties. Directed self-assembly is an attractive option for making the 2D nanostructuring process scalable. In addition, controlled stacking of individual layers exploiting van der Waals interactions to keep the layers together expands the options and results in rich new scientific possibilites. A vast number of combination are possible, and the properties of the resulting stacks are expected to be similarly wide ranging.

This PhD project is aimed at developing the experimental tools for 2D structuring at the finest scales and will be part of the strongly collaborative and cross-disciplinary research activity at the Center of Excellence for Nanostructured Graphene, CNG. The Danish National Research Foundation funds the CNG, which supports the present project with many other experimental activities and theoretical efforts on predicting the properties of such materials.

Responsibilities and tasks
The project will involve:

  • Choice and possibly synthesis of block copolymers suitable for directed self-assembly structuring by lithography of transition metal dichalconide – e.g. MoS2 – layers to generate nanopore arrays in 2D materials.
  • Characterization of the self-assembly process on transition metal dichalconide layers using thermal or solvent annealing.
  • Characterization of the self-assembly process on born nitride layers using thermal or solvent annealing. Boron nitride is often used as a protective layer for other 2D materials

We aim to make electro- and microfluidic devices from the produced nano structured layers. The devices can have a variety of functionalities such as energy generation by concentration gradient (such as recently demonstrated osmotic “blue” power generation) or optical devices and possibly integration of such devices in microfluidic systems. Device fabrication will be performed both at the DTU_Nanolab cleanroom facility and in the new Moorfield glove-box based metal deposition and etching system (

In order to achieved these goals a student will need to master
  • structure alignment of block copolymers on different substrates
  • characterization of the block copolymer thin films by e.g. scanning and transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and x-ray scattering

The present project will build on a substantial experience in the field gained by our group during the last decade. Characterization of the materials and structure elucidation before and after each step of fabrication will be achieved by different techniques, including electron microscopy, radiation scattering and atomic force microscopy.

The PhD research project will bind together two important areas; on the one side the synthesis activity of tailor-made block copolymers and on the other side their use as nanolithographic masks for scalable nanostructuring of 2D materials. As part of a team, the required structural parameters for the 2D materials will be decided in collaboration with other researchers at CNG.

Candidates should have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master’s degree.

An MSc degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, solid-state physics or materials science or and education with similar content:
  • Strong chemical synthesis competences
  • Surface characterization techniques knowledge
  • Solid state physics or physical chemistry interest

The following soft skills are important:
  • Strong communication skills in English
  • Willingness to engage in a multi-national team

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the candidates will be made by November 1, 2019

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The PhD will be employed at DTU Chemistry. The experimental work will be conducted in laboratories of DTU Chemistry and of CNG.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Kristoffer Almdal, tel.: 45 4525 8144/45 20915852 or Associate Professor Tim Booth, tel.: +45 45256355.

You can read more about CNG at

Please submit your online application no later than 15 October 2019 (local time).

Apply at

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

The assessment will be finished by November 1, 2019

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

You can read more about DTU Chemistry on

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.