In this project you will use advanced femtosecond spectroscopy techniques to study the properties of water and hydrated protons near hydrophylic and hydrophobic surfaces. You will use the highly surface-specific technique of vibrational surface sum-frequency generation (VSFG) to study the hydrogen-bond configuration of water molecules and hydrated protons near metal-oxide surfaces, hydrophobically coated metals, and graphene. With VSFG you will also investigate how the water molecules and hydrated protons interact with the molecular groups of these surfaces. You will also study the molecular dynamics near the surface with the technique of time-resolved VSFG, in particular you will study the rate at which hydrogen bonds are broken and reformed, and the rate and mechanism by which protons are conducted along the surface. The studies will yield new fundamental physics knowledge and insights, which will be highly relevant to the better understanding and control of (photo)catalysic processes.
You need to meet the requirements for a doctors-degree and must have research experience in a non-Dutch academic environment.The candidate has successfully completed doctoral studies in experimental physical chemistry or experimental physics. The candidate is expected to have experience in femtosecond laser spectroscopy of molecular and/or condensed phase systems. Experience with the technique of surface sum-frequency generation is a bonus.