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Doctoral student - Synthesis and study of molecular systems for chiral symmetry breaking

   Chemistry Department

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  Prof Yves Geerts, Prof Steven De Feyter  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Offer description

Université Libre de Bruxelles - Free University of Brussels - (ULB) and KU Leuven  are major academic institution with international recognition for scientific achievements.

The group of Prof. Yves Geerts (ULB) is active in the design, synthesis, processing and characterization of advanced molecular materials with unprecedented properties, see

The group of Prof. Steven De Feyter (KU Leuven) is active in surface functionalization and their characterization and visualization using advanced microscopy techniques, see

CHISUB is an ambitious collaborative research project that span over 4 years (2022-2025) and that puts together 6 research groups from Belgium, The Netherlands, and Austria. CHISUB features a multidisciplinary approach, towards crystallization mechanisms of molecules, which uses chiral symmetry breaking as local probe of ordering phenomena and as a tool for enantiomeric separation. Crystallization often starts on surfaces of rigid substrates with the formation of 2D self-assembled molecular layers and then extends to bulk phases. CHISUB intends to design, synthesize, and characterize a library of molecular systems tailored to break chiral symmetry at different time- and length-scales. These systems will be studied by scanning probe microscopy at 2D and by electron microscopy and diffraction techniques when extending to 3D. Chiral symmetry breaking towards specific handedness will be directed by external stimuli, such as a combination of electric and magnetic fields, spin polarization, and even rotation of molecular machines. Theoretical and experimental studies will be carried out in synergy to explore ordering phenomena and chiral selectivity processes from first principles and reach a fundamental understanding beyond specific systems

ULB and KUL open a joint doctoral position that will lead to a double diploma. The selected candidate will start to synthesize molecular materials at ULB, during two years. Then, he/she will pursue the research project by studying chiral symmetry breaking at nanoscale by using scanning probe microscopy techniques, such as AFM and STM. The total duration is four years. 

Additional information


Tax free fellowship of around €2000

Eligibility criteria

Academic excellence, laboratory skills, oral and written communication skills, ability to team work, social skills, dedication, critical and rational thinking.

To register to the doctoral program, the candidate must have been awarded a master degree in chemistry that is equivalent to the ones delivered by ULB and KUL. The applicant must have a sound and general scientific knowledge covering the following fields: general chemistry, general physics, general organic chemistry, mathematics, general biology, introduction to earth science and geology, mineralogy, crystallography, classical mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical dynamics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, kinetics, spectroscopy, biochemistry, advanced organic chemistry, advanced physical chemistry. Applicant must have received a twofold theoretical and experimental education in chemistry.

Selection process

To apply, candidates must send to Prof. Yves Geerts, [Email Address Removed], a letter explaining his/her motivations, a Curriculum Vitae, a copy of bachelor and master diplomas, a list of publications (if any), three recommendation letters from former supervisors, and a comprehensive transcript of notes obtained at bachelor and master levels. Applications will be shared with Prof. Steven De Feyter.

Additional comments

Applicants who have received a chemistry education from high-ranked universities will be preferred. Candidates must be fluent in English, additional knowledge of French and/or Dutch will be appreciated.


Research fields

Organic chemistry & physical chemistry

Years of research experience

0-4 years

Required education level

Master in chemistry

Skills & qualifications

A talented highly motivated young organic chemist with a master degree in chemistry is actively searched. The candidate must have a solid background in chemistry, be hard at work, easy-going, rigorous, proactive, and have strong laboratory skills.

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