Postdoc: Resolving Surface Reactions in Plasma Catalysis (SURPLAS)

Postdoc: Resolving Surface Reactions in Plasma Catalysis (SURPLAS)

ARCNL - Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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.


  • 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.

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