PhD position

We are searching for a highly motivated candidate in the following position:

PhD Student, Disorder in Multicomponent Nano-Catalysts

The successful applicant will join the Institute for Multiscale Simulation (MSS) at Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg and work in close collaboration with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UK) and Indiana University Bloomington (USA).

Discovery of novel materials for energy applications relies on understanding the relation between atom interactions and the lattice distortion from microstructure architecture. This is the key in nanoscience research for heterogeneous catalysis. The PhD thesis is part of a DFG-Konwihr funded research on the materials relationship between nano-structuration and chemical/physical properties.

The focus of the thesis are multicomponent nanocrystals with core@shell, and generally complex structure-microstructure. For this purpose, experimental scattering data are investigated with atomistic models, assisted by machine learning algorithms. A combination of Monte-Carlo, molecular-dynamics and density functional theory simulations are used to inform experimental data analysis methods and observe structure disorder and crystal transformation. The PhD student will visit international X-ray and Neutron source laboratories (e.g., ISIS Neutron and Muon source, Diamond, and Argonne National Laboratory), and work in close collaboration with research groups in the UK (Ruttherford Appleton Laboratory) and the USA (Indiana University Bloomingotn).

Qualified applicants must have (or defend by the end of the year) a Master’s degree in Physics, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or an equivalent field. Experience in simulation and computer programming (C/C++, Python) is desirable. Excellent communication skills in English to disseminate the results in international journals and conferences are expected. An interest in materials science and both computational and experimental research is required.

FAU offers the opportunity to work in an outstanding research university with innovative academic structures. Salary is in accordance with the German public service salary scale and the accordant social benefits. The position is available starting October 2021. Review of applications will begin on August the 9th and continue until the position is filled.

For further information please see our webpage: and contact Dr. Alberto Leonardi.

To apply, send your CV, cover letter, one-page summary of your Master’s thesis, list of master degree (and bachelor if relevant) exams/grades, and two references (people who may be contacted, specify the relation to you) via email to: .

PhD positions / Postdoc positions

If there are currently no advertised positions and you are interested in joining the lab, please contact Prof. Michael Engel stating your research interests and describe briefly how they are related to work in our group.

Sometimes there are funds available on short notice. We also offer assistance for applications to DAAD scholarships or a Humboldt Research Fellowship for highly qualified and motivated foreign graduates.

Master thesis / Bachelor thesis / Miniproject

We are a team of engineers and scientists working in the Interdisciplinary Center for Nanostructured Films (IZNF) and are looking forward to you joining our research efforts!

Various projects are available (e.g. ligand-shell nanocrystals, colloids under confinement, host-guest crystal growth, and actively driven granular matter). Depending on the topic, you will learn basics of numerical modeling and simulation of particulate and molecular system, data analysis, phase diagram calculation, high-performance computing, and gain insight into aspects of data science and machine learning. Many projects involve experimental collaborators.

For information please send an email to or contact me in an informal manner.