Postdoc: Resolving Surface Reactions in Plasma Catalysis (SURPLAS)

Date posted March 25, 2024
Type Postdoc positions

Plasma catalysis is a fascinating research field with the potential to efficiently use electrical energy for catalytic reactions. In plasma catalysis, the reactants are activated in a plasma discharge, allowing for remarkable efficiencies beyond the limits of thermal reactions. Also in the interactions with plasma, the catalyst surface defines the reaction pathway and selectivity, and is thus key in catalyst design. However, at present the active state of catalyst surfaces in plasma is unknown, limiting the impact of plasma catalysis by inhibiting the design of dedicated plasma catalysts.

This postdoc position connects the two active research fields of surface science and plasma chemistry. The project aims to understand the active state of a surface live during plasma exposure using a unique methodology developed by our research group. It is part of a fully funded Starting Grant from the European Research Council entitled “Resolving surface reactions in plasma catalysis: Towards rational catalyst design (SURPLAS)” at the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL). 

Project goal

In the SURPLAS project, we will determine the surface reaction mechanisms of catalysts in plasma and demonstrate the rational design of plasma catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation. As a postdoc, you will determine the active state of metal surfaces live in plasma environment and analyze the role of the individual plasma species in the reaction. You will lead the group’s efforts on infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy. The combination with in situ photoelectron spectroscopy during plasma exposure will allow you to identify the key reaction intermediates of plasma-assisted reactions on model catalysts. Throughout the project, you will couple new fundamental insights on plasma-surface interactions to changes in reactivity and selectivity of surfaces.

About the group

The Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) focuses on the fundamental physics and chemistry involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. ARCNL is a public-private partnership between the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands (see also
The research activities of the Materials and Surface Science for EUV Lithography group aim at the atomic-scale understanding of surface processes in challenging environments, such as plasmas, reactive gases, ionizing radiation, and high temperatures.


You have a PhD in Physics, Physical Chemistry, or a related field and experience with infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy (IRAS/RAIRS) for surface-sensitive measurements.
You are motivated, independent, and have good project management skills.
Good verbal and written communication skills (in English) are required. A background in surface science, ultra-high vacuum, and photoelectron spectroscopy is considered an advantage for the project.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hrs / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of 2 years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) and a range of employment benefits. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. ARCNL assists any new foreign researchers with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Dr. Roland Bliem
Group Leader for Materials and Surface Science for EUV Lithography
Phone: +31- 20 851 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online on the ARCNL webpage.
Please send your:
–  Resume;
–  Motivation why you want to perform the outlined research (max. 1 page).
It is important to us to know why you want to join our team and why you are interested in this project. This means that we will only consider your application if it includes your motivation letter.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

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