20 May 2021

Get in touch!


For informal enquiries and more information please contact Prof. Pascal Gehring (mail: pascal.gehring@uclouvain.be; website: www.gehring-lab.com), Prof. Francisco Molina-Lopez (mail: francisco.molinalopez@kuleuven.be, website: www.molina-lopezresearchlab.com), or Prof. Clement Merckling (mail:clement.merckling@kuleuven.be).

To apply, applicants shall submit a scientific CV (including awards, publication list if applies and the contact of 3 senior researchers for reference), a motivation letter and the transcript of your bachelor and master courses.

The closing date for applications is 27th June 2021 and interviews are anticipated to be held shortly after.

All three host institutions have supportive policies in place to facilitate a diverse and inclusive working environment (https://uclouvain.be/en/discov... and https://www.kuleuven.be/diversiteit/diversity). We strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

You can apply for this job no later than June 27, 2021.

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

(ref. BAP-2021-390)

Apply before 27 June 2021

The aim of this PhD project is to realize the first thermoelectric cooler device exploiting the quantum properties of magnetic Weyl semimetals.

The work will be performed for 2 years in the Nanoscopic Physics department at UCLouvain (Louvain-la-Neuve) under the supervision of Prof. P. Gehring (https://www.gehring-lab.com/). The other 2 years will take place in the group of “Surface and Interface Engineered Materials” (https://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/onderzoek/siem/SIEM) at the Department of Materials Engineering of KU Leuven, and under the supervision of Prof. Clement Merckling and Prof. F. Molina-Lopez (https://www.molina-lopezresearchlab.com/).

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The irruption of quantum computing in our society and the promise held by superconducting electronics comes along with a strong need for cryogenic circuits (those working at only a few K). Cooling them to such temperatures can be in principle achieved electrically using thermoelectric (TE) materials,which are robust solid-state devices with no moving parts, scalable, and thus perfectly suited for integrated on-chip coolers. Thus, since the discovery of thermoelectric effects more than 200 years ago, there has been vast research effort in the fields of materials science and physics, which aimed at identifying - and optimizing - new material systems with high thermoelectric charge-to-heat conversion efficiency. However, limited progress has been made in terms of performance and implementation, thus thermoelectric coolers are still restricted to niche applications.

To this end, the project combines the development of a deposition method to obtain ultra-high quality thin films of magnetic Weyl semimetals, in-depth characterization of their physical parameters by means of cryogenic magnetotransport and scanning probe microscopy, and implementation into real functional devices with innovative form factors including mechanical flexibility and large area.

You will be working in an international environment that uniquely combines two of the leading universities in Europe (UCLouvain & KU Leuven).You will therefore have full access to the state-of-the art laboratories for micro/nano fabrication and testing facilities. You will be contributing to a challenging, interdisciplinary topic in a team of physicists, material scientists and electrical engineers.

What you will do:

  • Synthesis of novel materials by molecular beam epitaxy.
  • Clean room device fabrication.
  • Cryogenic electrical quantum transport measurements.
  • Scanning probe microscopy.
  • Device implementation and benchmarking against state of the art materials.
  • Data evaluation and modelling.
  • Present your results in scientific articles and at international conferences and workshops.
  • MSc degree in Physics, Nanoscience, Materials science, engineering or a related area.
  • Strong experimental and analytical skills.
  • Knowledge in programming (python) and mathematical software(matlab) is an asset.
  • Motivated to pursue a versatile project combining hands-on work and data modelling.
  • Creative and organized, with a keen interest in interdisciplinary research.
  • Collaborative attitude, with good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Proficient in spoken and written English. Minimum required: IELTS of 7(no subscore below 6.5) or TOEFL of 94 (no subscore below 22).

The project includes funding to cover a competitive salary, lab and conference expenses for a 4-year program. Since this position is part of a PhD partnership, a double PhD degree will be awarded by UCLouvain and KU Leuven.