Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

PhD Scholarship in Structural Characterization of Functionalized Quantum Dots – DTU Nanolab

2024-08-31 (Europe/Copenhagen)
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The National Centre for Nanofabrication and Characterization (DTU Nanolab) at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is seeking a PhD student to visualize “Quantum Dot / Ligand” interfaces to unravel the complex structure and dynamics of QD-(macro)molecule interactions.

In the research group “Nano-Micro-Macro. Structure in Materials”, headed by Prof. Joerg Jinschek, you will break new ground at the absolute forefront of what is possible. You will advance (cryo) electron microscopy imaging & spectroscopy techniques representing a critical avenue for refining our understanding of quantum dot (QD) functionalization, particularly in the area of surface ligand engineering tailored to imaging complex molecular systems, but also in (self)assembly of coupled QD arrays for intriguing electronic and photonic properties.

The project is part of new interdisciplinary and highly collaborative research and is funded by DTU’s “PhD grant for a joint Alliance Research Project”, in close collaboration with Dr. Heiner Friedrich, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Center for Multiscale electron Microscopy) at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, NL). The group at TU/e utilizes functionalized quantum dots (f~QDs) as probes to ‘mark’ macromolecules for comprehensive correlative dynamic studies of interactive polymeric materials, aiming at (bio)engineering and (bio)medical applications.

You will focus on understanding the complex interaction between quantum dots (QDs) and organic ligands to functionalize the quantum dots (f~QDs) for various applications, here as biomarkers to label specific structures in complex molecular systems.

The group at TU/e will utilize f~QDs, developed and characterized at DTU Nanolab, as structure- and molecule-specific markers in correlative soft materials characterization, e.g. correlative light electron microscopy (CLEM) combining (cryo) fluorescence microscopy and (cryo) electron microscopy to achieve a molecular understanding of polymeric materials and their interactions with a biological environment. TU/e’s findings and feedback will lead to optimizing the optical properties of f~QDs for various applications (here: color and intensity of fluorescence signal).

Responsibilities and qualifications
In the research group “Nano-Micro-Macro. Structure in Materials”, we strive at developing and applying concepts for characterizing structures, mainly focusing on state-of-the-art EM. The interdisciplinary efforts aim at developing fundamental understandings of process-structure-property relationships. The focus here is on bioengineering studies.

Tasks (in close collaboration with the group at TU/e):

  • Develop an understanding of materials engineering for the design of specific QD-ligand heterostructures. 
  • Develop reliable, robust procedures for the characterization such inorganic/organic structures– at the single atom/molecule length scale. 
  • Determine structural phenomena at QD-ligand interfaces (and their statistical relevance). 
  • Develop a concept to understand structure – (optical) property relationships.
  • Provide data sets to automate materials design processes.


  • You are interested in working in interdisciplinary and international research collaboration.
  • You are a team player and have a strong talent for interacting in teams and integrating information.
  • You have a fundamental interest in functionalized quantum dots for soft and biomaterials imaging.
  • You have a fundamental interest in challenging materials characterization using scanning / transmission electron microscopes.
  • You want to learn how artificial intelligence concepts revolutionize materials science and engineering.

You must 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.

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 DTU's rules for the PhD education

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Joerg Jinschek.

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 position is a full-time position. Expected starting date is 1 January 2025 (or as soon as possible thereafter according to mutual agreement).

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Joerg Jinschek, email:

You can read more about DTU Nanolab at and the Research group at Nano-Micro-Macro. Structure in Materials and at DTU Orbit.

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU. 

Application procedure 
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 31 August 2024 (23:59 Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply now", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Cover letter
  • Letter of motivation (“statement of purpose”) – essential, will be read first
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 

Applications 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.

DTU Nanolab is a common infrastructure and research facility located at and fully owned by the Technical University of Denmark, DTU. DTU Nanolab houses a state-of-the-art electron microscopy center. The work carried out at DTU Nanolab spans the range of basic topographical studies to highly sophisticated analysis of nanoscale materials in hard and soft matter.   

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.


PhD Scholarship in Structural Characterization of Functionalized Quantum Dots – DTU Nanolab
Anker Engelunds Vej 1 Kongens Lyngby, Danmark
2024-08-31 23:59 (Europe/Copenhagen)
2024-08-31 23:59 (CET)
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Om arbejdsgiveren

Ørsted, who founded the university, to develop and create value using the natural sciences and the technical sciences to benefit society.

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