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Effective Characterization of Nanoscale Airborne Particles by Electron Microscopy

  • // Denmark
  • University/Institute Name Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
  • University/Institute Name Department of Nanofabrication & Characterization
  • Attendance Type On Campus
  • Position Duration3 years
  • Position Funding Type
  • Application deadlineExpired

Position Details (PhD Program)

Are you interested in exploring new electron microscopy approaches to identify nanoparticles influencing our health and environment? Are you a highly motivated future PhD student with physics, chemistry, materials or computer sciences background? Would you like to join our research team and develop an automated methodology for high throughput airborne particle characterization?

This PhD position at the National Centre for Nanofabrication and Characterization (DTU Nanolab) will give you the opportunity to develop an experimental and computational approach to extract valuable information from electron microscopy images with the goal offering a standardized and effective solution to identify potential harmful pollutants and understand their impact on human health.

Responsibilities and tasks
Exposure to fine airborne particles suspended in the air is estimated to cause million deaths globally every year. The increasing role of nanomaterials in many sectors of production and manufacturing is driving the size range of these harmful particles to smaller dimensions, facilitating their way into the human body and potentially causing more or faster damage to our health. Size, morphology, composition, phase and structure are relevant characteristics of airborne pollutants playing a role on their interaction with the human body. Today, single-particle characteristics are achieved by multiple electron microscopy instruments and approaches.

The objective of this project is to develop a reliable and high-throughput airborne particle characterization solution based on a single instrument. This will be achieved by developing experimental and computational approaches to expand the existing capabilities of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) for automatic and statistical characterization of nanoparticles.

The project supports the ongoing efforts at DTU Nanolab to expand research activities SEM-based nanoparticle characterization.

The position is fully funded by Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF, DK) Grant in Natural and Technical Science.


  • You will plan and manage your PhD project in collaboration with supervisors.
  • You will simulate electron diffraction patterns for different material systems.
  • You will develop computer algorithms to index electron diffraction patterns.
  • You will Implement AI-based methodology for analysis of electron diffraction images.
  • You will evaluate the developed solution experimentally in the scanning electron microscope.
  • You will contribute to teaching at DTU Nanolab;
  • You will take part in supervision of BSc and MSc students in projects related to your PhD project.


  • You are interested in working in interdisciplinary research environment.
  • You are a team player.
  • You have the ability to take responsibility for own project goals.
  • You have experience in computational image analysis, machine learning and/ or convolutional neural network.
  • You have experience in programming (e.g. Python).
  • You have preferably some experience with electron microscopy and electron diffraction.

We are specifically looking for someone with a good knowledge of solid states physics and electron microscopy. Significant experience in scientific programming will be advantageous.

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. A Master degree in chemical engineering, physics, materials science, computer science or a related field is preferred. Good communication & writing skills as well as a very good command in English is expected.

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 application will be made by senior researcher Alice Bastos da Silva Fanta from DTU Nanolab and Professor Jakob Schiøtz from DTU Physics.

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.

Starting date is 1 April 2023 (or according to mutual agreement). The position is a full-time position.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher Alice Bastos da Silva Fanta ([email protected]).

You can read more about DTU Nanolab at

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 10 January 2023 (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:

  • A letter 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.

Computer/Software Skills Required

Which language proficiency is required?

Applicant type required for this position

Position Start Date