PhD Student

Last application date
Feb 28, 2023 00:00
TW17 - Department of Applied Physics
Limited duration
MSc degree in chemistry, applied physics, engineering, materials science, or surface analysis
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

We are looking for PhD candidate to develop and study contactless green technology of art objects cleaning based on plasma sources of atomic oxygen in joint project between Research Unit Plasma Technology, of the Ghent (Belgium) and Technical University Eindhoven, Elementary processes in gas discharges (Nederland).

While unsustainable development increasingly threatens Europe’s cultural heritage (CH) assets, museums and conservators continue searching for green approaches and materials. In the preservation of tangible CH assets, carbon-based soiling is among the most significant deteriorations factors. Pollution, vandalism, smoke and fires can cause catastrophic carbon-based contamination to tangible CH assets, and cleaning is essential for their preservation. However, the currently available methods require hazardous chemicals, physical contact, and water, which can be too disruptive to many art materials. The urgent need for sustainable green approaches has been emphasized for over a decade, summarized in ICOM-CC's Melbourne 2014 declaration, but the actual progress in creating green solutions has been very slow. To kick-start a breakthrough, the European Commission has funded Green Atmospheric Plasma Generated Monoatomic OXYgen Technology for Restoration of the Works of Art – MOXY project 2022-2026, coordinated by Ghent University with a Horizon Europe grant in the call Green Technologies and Materials for Cultural Heritage to bring to fruition a radically new green approach to the cleaning of tangible cultural heritage assets. MOXY project rises to the challenge of cleaning and preserving extremely fragile artworks for the future based on the use of plasma source of atomic oxygen. The project will bring together plasma physics, heritage science and conservation to realize a radical green innovation - a non-contact approach, based on atomic oxygen, which will empower conservators removing soiling in non-mechanical, liquid-free action, without health or environmental concerns, residues, and waste. To achieve its transformative goals, MOXY will research fundamental aspects of AO, develop and test a proof-of-concept system, and study interactions with ultra-sensitive art materials, propelling it to the emergent clean technologies in conservation.

The Ph.D. position will be organized as a joint PhD between two involved Universities. The job will focus on studying the plasma initiated processes leading to the generation of atomic oxygen in a non-thermal plasma environment and the effect of atomic oxygen beam on the surface of art objects. The student will work in close cooperation with plasma scientists, chemists, and cultural heritage experts.

Job profile

We are looking for candidates with MSc degree in chemistry, applied physics, engineering, materials science, or surface analysis. A good background in chemistry, emission or laser spectroscopy or good experimental skills in surface analytical techniques are desirable. The Ph.D. student will be able to gain experience in areas of plasma chemistry, spectroscopy, and analytical methods of advanced surface characterization. Fluent in English confirmed by certificate.

How to apply

Send your CV and motivation to