Ph.D. student - Modeling zeolite synthesis in ionic liquids

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  • Published date: September 30, 2019
  • Modified date: September 30, 2019
    • Ghent, Belgium

We are pleased to announce a fully funded FWO PhD position, for a duration of four years, supervised by Prof. Toon Verstraelen, at the Center for Molecular Modeling, a multidisciplinary research team of 40 researchers from the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture.

The overall goal of this project is to understand how zeolites grow in ionic liquids and which factors govern crystal structure and morphology. Your task is to characterize structural and dynamic properties of hydrated ionic liquid synthesis mixtures with molecular dynamics simulations, under conditions that match the experimental setup as closely as possible. (You should also exchange results with an experimental partner in KULeuven.) One of the first questions to be answered is how the initial ionic liquid is structured and whether this structure shows any similarities with zeolites formed later. In the first stage, simulations can be carried out with state-of-the-art force fields. Later, this work will be extended toward mapping preferred precursor pathways in the early stages of the synthesis. In this context, you will develop a so-called reactive semi-classical electron force field, which can fully capture the reactive dynamics of the synthesis mixture. There is room in the project to focus more on software implementation aspects. The statistical aspects of parameter optimization in this project also fit well in ongoing efforts in the group related to machine learning and ReaxFF. You are expected to disseminate your research in publications in leading journals in the field and to submit and defend your thesis before the end of the contract.

We are seeking exceptionally qualified and motivated applicants for this position. This means only students with high grades and research experience in their B.Sc. and M.Sc. studies in physics, applied physics, chemistry or chemical engineering from renowned universities will be considered. Prior experience with molecular dynamics simulations and programming are required. Furthermore, a good background in mathematics, statistics and (quantum) physics will be highly beneficial. In addition to a strong scientific and technical background, it is important that you have good scientific communication skills (written and oral) and sufficient social aptitude to integrate in a diverse and competitive research group.

Applications should be sent to Toon.Verstraelen@UGent.be before October 31, 2019, with the subject: "Application for Ph.D. position - Modeling zeolite synthesis in ionic liquids". The application should include:

- a detailed Curriculum Vitae with a complete biography,
- a cover letter describing why you should be considered for this position,
- transcripts of B.Sc. and M.Sc. courses and grades,
- copies of educational certificates and
- a list of two professors who have supervised you in your B.Sc. and/or M.Sc. research project and who are willing to provide a letter of recommendation.

All documents should be in PDF format and written in English. From all applications, a short-list of candidates will be made, who will be contacted for an interview over Skype.

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