PhD Position available
Polymorphism is the ability of molecular materials to exist in more than one crystal structure. It is ubiquitous to various classes of synthetic as well as natural compounds which are used in food, explosives, pigments, semiconductors, fertilizers, and pharmaceutical industries. Polymorphs of the same compound sometimes exhibit vastly different physical properties, chemical reactivity, and biological functions. While its existence is widely acknowledged, a clear understanding of the factors that govern polymorphism is still lacking. A recent addition to this mysterious phenomenon is the discovery of the so-called substrate-induced phases (SIPs). It has been observed that when molecular materials crystallize on a solid substrate, new crystal polymorphs that differ from those existing in bulk, emerge near the interface with the substrate. There is rising interest in understanding and controlling substrate-induced polymorphism, particularly in search of new crystal polymorphs with functional properties.
The main target of the PhD program is to elucidate how positional and orientational order of molecules propagate from the substrate to the upper crystal layers. The experimental work will be carried out jointly between the De Feyter group (http://www.defeytergroup.org/) at KU Leuven and the Geerts group (http://www.ulb.ac.be/sciences/chimpoly) at ULB. You will undertake highly interdisciplinary research, encompassing surface science and crystal engineering in bulk, and will benefit from extensive in-house know-how of surface engineering (KU Leuven) and crystal engineering (ULB). The duration of the PhD is four years. The selected applicant will spend the first two years in the Geerts group and the remaining two in the De Feyter group. The candidate is expected to defend a high-level PhD thesis that will be jointly awarded by ULB and KUL, within four years.
Required background: A talented highly motivated young chemist with a solid background in physical supramolecular chemistry of self-assembly systems is actively searched. The candidate must have a sound knowledge of thermodynamics, kinetics, crystallization and characterization methods. He/she must be open-minded, hard at work, easy-going, rigorous, and have strong laboratory skills. He/she must be fluent in English. Only applicants who have excellent academic record will be considered.