PhD Student in Advanced Surface Electromechanics

ICN2 is a renowned research centre. Its research lines focus on the newly discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the behaviour of matter at the nanoscale.

The Institute promotes collaboration among scientists from diverse backgrounds (physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering) to develop basic and applied research, while seeking out new ways to interact with local and global industry.

It also offers researchers training in nanotechnology, develops numerous activities to promote and enable the uptake of nanotechnology by industry, and promotes networking among scientists, engineers, technicians, business people, society, and policy makers.

ICN2 was accredited in 2014 as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence and is a founding member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST). The aim of the Severo Ochoa Program, sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, are to identify and support those Spanish research centres that demonstrate scientific leadership and impact at global level.


 Job Title: PhD Student in Advanced Surface Electromechanics


Research area or group: Oxide Nanoelectronics Group


Description of Group/Project:

The research lead by Dra. Neus Domingo at the Advanced AFM Laboratory of the Institut Català de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2) in Barcelona has become a reference in Europe for the nanoscale characterization of piezoelectric and ferroelectric materials. Research lines mainly concern the surface electric and electromechanical properties at the nanoscale; current topics of interest include but are not limited to adsorbates on ferroelectric surfaces, surface electromechanical characterization, domain wall nanoelectronics, oxide interface effects or nano-confined phase transitions.


Main Tasks and responsibilities:

The phD student will fully develop the work in the frame of the ADVanced Surface Electromechanics project from the Spanish Government, devoted to quantify the different phenomena that contribute to nanoscale electromechanical response as measured by an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) instrument, including polarization-dependent mechanical properties of ferroelectric domains and domain walls, electro-ionic migration and electrochemistry, electromechanical coupling by adsorbates or skin layers, and flexoelectricity.

The phD student will be trained in the state of the art of Piezoresponse Force Microscopy (PFM), and will pursue the development of Advanced PFM modes, to evolve this technique from its current status as the main tool for qualitative analysis of ferroelectrics into a reliable instrument for accurate quantitative measurement of electromechanical properties in ceramics, thin films, and MEMS. The main tool will be a cryogenic Atomic Force Microscope (Attocube) that works at temperatures down to 5K with in-situ magnetic fields of up to 9T, and an environmental AFM platform (Asylum) with high versatility of operation modes and environments. Special emphasis will be placed on the study of adsorbates and their role as surface polarization screening charges on ferroelectric materials, and their interplay with the detection of surface electromechanical properties.

The phD student will also use complementary techniques for the study of surfaces and dielectric, piezoelectric, flexoelectric and ferroelectric properties, from general electric characterization equipment available in our laboratories to in-home and synchrotron XPS techniques.


Education, Experience, Knowledge and Competences required:

We seek strongly motivated young researchers willing to achieve a phD with high level of excellence. PhD students of our research group are prepared to lead their own research lines from the experimental base to the final publication of the results.

Related to the offered position, the applicant should ideally have a background on physics, electronic engineering or materials science, oriented to nanoscience and nanotechnology areas.

The main requirement is the willingness and skill to get involved in the setting up of the experimental facilities: the researcher will have the chance to use cryogenic systems and all types of instrumentation for electrical characterization. Our group focuses on original research, so we place a strong premium on fresh thinking; the ideal applicant should therefore be an independent thinker, enthusiastic about learning and doing good research, as well as a friendly communicator in English, both in writing and in oral presentations. For the experimental work, it is also essential a well-organized and methodological candidate. Good inter-personal skills are essential since the group is committed with excellent team spirit environment.


Research Career Profile (According to the European Framework for Research Careers):


First Stage Researchers (R1)


Summary of conditions:


  • Full time work (37,5h/week)
  • Contract Length: 3 years.
  • Salary will depend on qualifications and demonstrated experience.
  • Salary according to the cost of living in Barcelona.
  • Support to the relocation issues.
  • Life Insurance.

Estimated Incorporation date:  September 15, 2017


How to apply:

All applications must be made via and include the following:

  1. A cover letter.
  2. A full CV including contact details.
  3. 2 Reference letters or referee contacts.

Deadline for applications: July, 15.

Equal opportunities:

ICN2 is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities.

The ALBA Synchrotron and the Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano” (CSIC) are looking for a PhD candidate

for the joint research project "A real space study of functional oxide growth on metal substrates"

Transition metal (TM) oxides are a family of materials with a wide range of physical properties and rich phase diagrams. The ability to grow high quality oxide thin films and heterostructures combined with the versatility of oxide properties opens the path to a large number of applications in oxide electronics such as field effect transistors (FETs) or spintronics. Oxides are also widely used as catalysts or catalyst constituents. Controlling the growth of oxides, especially of low dimensionality, is both a challenge and a promising path to the discovery of new physical phenomena and their application in novel technologies. The present PhD project addresses the in-situ growth of low dimensional TM oxide structures on metal substrates, and their characterization with special emphasis on surface and interface effects. For this end we will exploit the unique capabilities of Low Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM) for in-situ observation of reactive molecular beam epitaxy, and the possibility of performing surface structural, chemical and magnetic characterization at the nanoscale in the same instrument by X-Ray PhotoEmission Electron Microscopy (XPEEM). The project is a collaboration of the ALBA Synchrotron and the Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano” (IQFR), leading Spanish groups in LEEM/XPEEM. It will combine the use of the LEEM/XPEEM station of the CIRCE beamline at the ALBA Synchrotron (Barcelona) with complementary measurements and data analysis at the IQFR laboratory (Madrid) using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, Low Energy Electron Diffraction, Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, and Mössbauer spectroscopy.

The project will take place at the ALBA Synchrotron in Barcelona and the Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano” in Madrid. The Alba Synchrotron ( is the largest Spanish scientific facility, with a lively international scientific working environment. The IQFR institute ( is part of a cluster of research institutes at the CSIC campus of Serrano close to the city center. The recipient will share his/her time between both sites. Candidates should have a degree in Physics, Chemistry or a related discipline and be in a position to join a PhD program in Spain. We are looking for highly motivated individuals with an interest in materials and surface science. Experience with synchrotron studies, vacuum equipment, and programming skills are an advantage. Curiosity and motivation for groundbreaking science is assumed. The appointment will be for a maximum of four years.

Interested candidates should send their CV and application letter to Dr. Juan de la Figuera (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Dr. Lucía Aballe (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Further information:

Industrial PhD position at Haldor Topsøe A/S


Topsøe A/S offers a PhD-project in a strong, innovative collaboration between Haldor Topsøe A/S, Utrecht University and the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (INANO) at Aarhus University (Denmark). The project is called “Rational design of vanadia based catalysts for selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx using emerging advanced X-ray spectroscopy techniques”.

PhD project content 

This project makes use of emerging X-ray spectroscopy techniques to study the fundamentals behind the high performance of vanadiabased SCR catalysts. Haldor Topsøe A/S has far-reaching knowledge of the underlying principles of catalysis. This is complemented by the extensive knowledge and experience in advance x-ray spectroscopy by Frank de Groot (world leading expert in X-ray spectroscopy with more than 240 papers, 12.000 citations and H index above 50) at Utrecht University and well defined model systems at Aarhus University with Jeppe V. Lauritsen. The project is carried out approximately 50% of the time at Utrecht University and 50% at Haldor Topsøe with short stays at INANO. The PhD degree will be awarded from Utrecht University. This is a 4 year project.

Additional information




logo cnm DTC logo icmab azul-negro horizontal icn2logo uablogo matgas logo rgb logo-sincrotronalba parc-recerca-UAB- NUEVO LOGO csic

Contact Us

  • Phone: +34 935 801 853 (243)


Subscribe to our mailing list