PhD student position: dissertation topic-Influence of flexibility of zeolite framework on adsorption behavior

The Adsorption and Catalysis group mainly focuses on designing, characterizing, and applying nanostructured and nanoporous materials for adsorption and catalysis. Bulanek`s group primarily works in the field of zeolites and zeotype materials for the capture, storage, and separation of gases and their mixtures (such as hydrocarbons, hydrogen, CO2, etc.) and heterogeneous catalysis (especially selective oxidation and (oxidative) dehydrogenation of hydrocarbons and alcohols).  For more information see group pages (https://fcht.upce.cz/en/fcht/news-0) or LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/roman-bul%C3%A1nek-91769a2a8/)

Project: Influence of flexibility of zeolite framework on adsorption behavior

For a long time, zeolitic materials were considered to be quite rigid porous substances. Nowadays, however, we already have a lot of evidence that this is not the case. However, the flexibility of zeolite lattices is still not adequately explored. The main goal of this doctorate is to find suitable quantitative descriptors of zeolite framework flexibility induced by temperature, composition, or guest molecules, allowing us to predict the adsorption behavior of zeolitic adsorbents. In case of success, this constitutes a significant step toward the more efficient separation of industrially important mixtures and the development of new efficient adsorbents. The Ph.D. thesis will be performed as a part of the Czech Science Foundation research project in collaboration with several groups in the Czech Republic and abroad (Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry Czech Academy of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, University of the Balearic Islands). Frequent project meetings, academic exchanges, and intense collaboration will benefit the successful candidate.

The project's primary goal is to deepen the understanding of the effect of zeolite framework flexibility on the diffusion and adsorption of various molecules into channels and cavities of the zeolites. A fundamental understanding of framework structure, composition, and density's role in adsorption behavior will be studied. More specifically, the following objectives should be reached:

  • Development of in-situ spectroscopic, diffraction, and adsorption characterization tools for the evaluation of zeolite flexibility
  • Complex characterization of the diffusion, adsorption capacity, and separation efficiency of investigated zeolites in various gas mixtures
  • In-depth analysis of the relationship between flexibility descriptors and separation efficiency

To reach these objectives, the successful candidate will have all possible support from the group leader (Roman Bulánek), post-docs, and fellow PhD students. The strong expertise in zeolite chemistry and solid-state characterization in the group will allow for facile synthesis of the desired catalysts. In-situ characterization techniques (XRD, gravimetric and volumetric adsorption measurement, SEM, FTIR, Raman, UV-vis, and luminescence) are available within the group for the fast progress of the project. A strong network is available for more advanced techniques, such as DFT molecular dynamics calculations and machine learning techniques, allowing facile access. Adsorption and adsorptive separation will be performed in both static volumetric and gravimetric adsorption equipment and dynamic breakthrough equipment that allow for the evaluation of diffusion rates and separation efficiency. Completing a Ph.D. thesis typically takes four years, which sets the timeframe for this project.

Requirements: The successful candidate should have a Master’s degree in chemistry focusing on physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, or spectroscopy. Experience working with spectroscopy (FT-IR, Raman) and textural and structural properties determination (XRD, physical adsorption, TEM/SEM/EDX) is an advantage.

The successful candidate should be highly motivated, eager to seek and share knowledge, able to work independently in a dynamic group environment, and confident in written and spoken English. The applicant should strive towards scientific excellence and be ambitious, with intrinsic motivation, self-sufficiency, initiative, and creativity.

We offer:

  • study in a well-established research group on attractive scientific topics
  • above-standard scholarship
  • living in a quiet, medium-sized city with a relatively low cost of living
  • continuous support and mentoring from the supervisor
  • possibility of further education in various workshops or mentoring activities, training to best prepare you for a career in academia or industry and develop your professional skills
  • rewarding and challenging job in an international environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom
  • work on the latest issues that impact our society
  • flexible working time allowing work-life balance
  • work in an inspiring environment that invites you to conduct high-quality research
  • excellent conditions to shape your career in a meaningful way and take it to the next level
  • you will benefit from excellent training in catalysis to further expand your portfolio

HOW TO APPLY

The call is open until February 29th, 2024, and all essential information about the conditions of study and the necessary documents required for the application can be found on the pages of the Physical Chemistry study program (https://studuj.upce.cz/en/physical-chemistry-3). If interested, contact the supervisor and Guarantor of the study program, prof. Ing. Roman Bulánek, Ph.D. (e-mail: Tato e-mailová adresa je chráněna před spamboty. Pro její zobrazení musíte mít povolen Javascript.). We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g., age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation/identity, and social, religious, and ethnic origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities is essential to us/our university.