Vacancy No. 1093/2019

Research associate / PhD Student (f/m/d)

In situ and operando catalyst characterization with synchrotron X-ray microscopy

Job description

The X-ray Microscopy (XRM) group at ITCP aims to unravel the structure and properties of heterogeneous catalysts from the macro- to the nanoscale, in order to derive structure-activity relationships, understand reaction mechanisms, and promote rational catalyst design. To achieve this, we perform advanced X-ray imaging at synchrotron light sources - allowing deep structural analysis across multiple dimensions (2D/3D), on hierarchical length scales (nm to mm) and under realistic reaction conditions (in situ/operando). We are currently seeking a motivated and proactive researcher to join our new project COSMIC - “Catalytic Operando X-ray Spectroscopy and Microscopy for spatially-resolved characterisation" - coordinated by KIT, in close collaboration with Hamburg University of Technology and the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY). As part of the XRM group, you will develop understanding of complex chemical systems and processes by applying X-ray microscopy and tomography. You will conduct your main research at the world-leading synchrotron light source DESY (Hamburg, Germany), with further experiments planned at KIT. This is a unique opportunity to work at the frontiers of chemistry, physics and materials science.

Job tasks and requirements:

  • Develop reaction cells and infrastructure for in situ/operando X-ray microscopy.
  • Combine X-ray microscopy, spectroscopy, fluorescence, diffraction, and mass spectrometry to understand catalyst structure-activity relationships.
  • Excellent teamwork and communication skills, engage in strong collaboration with project partners, be willing to travel and thrive in an interdisciplinary research environment.
  • NOTE: the candidate is hosted at KIT, but the main research tasks will take place at DESY. The candidate will most of the time be based in Hamburg, Germany during the project.
Personal qualification

You must have a very good Master’s degree in Chemistry or Physics, with expertise in at least one of the following: heterogeneous catalysis, in situ/operando studies, X-ray science, particularly spectroscopy or microscopy, physical chemistry. The ideal candidate has a strong focus on experimentation, enjoys laboratory work and has previous experience working at large-scale research facilities, including experiment planning and complex data analysis. Additional skills such as programming (e.g. Python, Matlab), CAD/design, or project management are an advantage. Fluency in written and spoken English is essential, German skills are an advantage.


Salary category 13, depending on the fulfillment of professional and personal requirements.

Organizational unit

Institute for Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry (ITCP)

Starting date

starting October 1st, 2019

Contract duration

limited to three years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Thomas Sheppard, phone +49 721/608-47989.


Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 1093/2019 .
Personnel Support is provided by 

Mr Münch
phone: +49 721 608-42099,

Kaiserstr. 12, 76131 Karlsruhe

We prefer to balance the number of employees (f/m/d). Therefore we kindly ask female applicants to apply for this job.

If qualified, severely disabled persons will be preferred.