PhD Student in Polymer Engineering for Solar Energy-to-Fuel Conversion (M/F)

Reference : MRT-2020-005

Type: PhD Student
Contract type: Fixed term contract
Duration: 14 months (+22 + 12 months extension)
Place: Belvaux



Your work environment

The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a Research and Technology Organization (RTO) active in the fields of materials, environment and IT. By transforming scientific knowledge into technologies, smart data and tools, LIST empowers citizens in their choices, public authorities in their decisions and businesses in their strategies.

You will be part of the LIST Materials Research and Technology department

Through its research into advanced materials and processes, the “Materials Research and Technology” (MRT) department, with its 200 researchers and engineers, contributes to the emergence of enabling technologies that underpin the innovation processes of local and international industry. MRT’s activities hinge on four thematic pillars: nanomaterials and nanotechnology, scientific instrumentation and process technology, structural composites, and functional polymers.

The department also includes four high-tech platforms, focusing on composites, prototyping, characterization and testing. These platforms serve both LIST research staff, and other stakeholders in Luxembourg.





Solar-assisted water splitting into molecular hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) provides a promising alternative to the worldwide energy and environmental challenges. The PhD researcher will work in the framework of a large EU-funded research project (ERC Consolidator grant), focusing on the chemical engineering of metalloporphyrin-based polymers for heterogeneous catalysis applications. The project, that involves an interdisciplinary team, includes the design and synthesis of novel light-absorbing catalyst materials from the chemical vapor deposition of metalloporphyrins, along with their characterization and evaluation toward highly efficient and clean hydrogen production from photoelectrochemical water splitting.


The ERC-funded PhD student will conduct research in the synthesis and characterisation of metalloporphyrin-based conjugated polymer thin films that act as photo-electrocatalysts for the hydrogen (HER) and oxygen evolution reactions (OER) from solar-assisted water splitting. The PhD project will involve aspects of polymer synthesis under vacuum conditions and materials characterization. The PhD student will work closely with the other team members to build up a deep understanding of the chemical structure, microstructure, electronic and functional properties of the synthesised materials. The PhD student, integrated to a very engaged and ambitious research team, is expected to develop these research activities at the highest scientific level.


Research work

  • Design and synthesis of advanced metalloporphyrin-based conjugated polymers directly in thin film form by chemical vapor deposition (CVD)
  • Structural, compositional and optical characterisation of the metalloporphyrin-based conjugated polymer thin films
  • Evaluation of the photo- and electrocatalytic properties of the fused metalloporphyrin thin films, toward the HER and OER from solar-assisted water splitting

Dissemination, Valorisation and Transfer

  • Contribute to the preparation and submission of papers to peer reviewed journals; actively participate in international workshops and conferences (e.g., via oral & poster presentations)
  • Contribute to the creation of intellectual property rights (patents, licences, etc.)
  • Participate in outreach activities targeting a lay audience
  • Meet and exchange with academic and non-academic collaborators, interested in the PhD work outcomes


  • Participate in international and regional conferences and workshops in his/her research field
  • Select and participate in training sessions (e.g., soft skills, specific skills)
  • Identify and follow courses offered in the framework of the doctoral school at the University of Luxembourg
  • Identify and follow summer schools in line with his/her thesis subject




Educational background

  • Master level degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or equivalent

Technical skills

  • Experience in organic chemistry or polymer chemistry would be an advantage but is not a pre-requisite 
  • Experience in conjugated microporous polymers or porphyrins will be considered as an asset

Language skills

  • Fluent oral and written English is required


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Dr Nicolas BOSCHER
Dr Nicolas BOSCHER

 Aldjia AFIRI
Aldjia AFIRI