VDS Open Call PhD Fellowships


The VDS program in Physics is offering new opportunities in various different research groups working in experimental, theoretical or computational physics!

The VDS program offers research opportunities in fifteen different research groups working in experimental, theoretical or computational physics. As a VDS fellow you will have a regular employment at the University of Vienna, will be part of a visible community of young scientists and you will have the opportunity to participate in transferable skills training and career development.

Application deadline: 30 July 2017 
Hearings: 28 & 29 September 2017 

More information on the admission procedure and eligibility criteria can be found here. Click here to go to the application form and kindly inform your academic advisors (2) to upload their recommendation via this link.

An overview of the open positions: 

  • Open position with Prof. Markus Arndt
    Nanoparticle cooling for interferometry
    We explore the optical cooling of nanoparticles in the mass range of 10^6-10^7 amu to a degree that they can be used for quantum coherence and interference experiments. This shall push the mass and complexity limits of matte-wave interferometry. 
    We are looking for an enthusiastic experimentalist with a good background in optics and quantum physics.
  • Open position with Prof. Christoph Dellago
    Non-equilibrium Fluctuations of Vacuum Laser Trapped Nanoparticles
    The objective of this project is to investigate, using computer simulations and theory, the dynamics of non-equilibrium systems. The specific example to be studied is a laser trapped nanoparticle, which is investigated experimentally by our project partners at the ETH Zurich. The levitated nanoparticle will be used to investigate non-equilibrium fluctuations, which will be analyzed in the framework of stochastic thermodynamics. Specifically, we will explore transitions between stationary non-equilibrium states, fluctuations in steady-states that violate the principle of detailed balance, the concept of conditional reversibility, and the coupling between internal and center-of-mass temperatures. The student to be involved in this project is expected to have knowledge of advanced statistical mechanics and be proficient in computer programming.
  • Open position with Prof. Jani Kotakoski
    In-situ investigation of stacked heteronanostructures (ISIHNANO)
    A PhD position is available within the FWF-funded ISIHNANO project. The project aims at understanding and controlling the physical and structural properties of low-dimensional nanostructures, their heterostructures and their defects under the influence of external perturbations. Carbon nanostructures (nanotubes, graphene, etc.), semiconductor nanostructures and two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides and their heterostructures are the main studied materials. Atomic-scale studies of the prepared structures and their defects will be performed by (scanning) transmission electron microscopy in situ under external perturbation. Successful candidate will be allowed take an independent role in designing the details of their PhD project.
  • Open position with Prof. Christos Likos 
    Self-assembly of quasi-two dimensional soft colloids
    We are looking for a Ph.D. student to work on our current activity of investigations of soft, patchy colloids under geometrical confinement. Previous investigations in the group have established that star-shaped block-copolymers in the bulk can act as self-organized patchy particles, whose patchiness can be tuned by molecular architecture and temperature, leading to the emergence of a variety of self-assembled structures. The current project will extend these investigations at the border between two and three dimensions, where the block copolymer stars have been found to build a variety of soft polygons, including squares, triangles and pentagons, which make them excellent candidates for the formation of two-dimensional quasicrystals. The focus will be on developing coarse-grained models for the investigation of the phase behavior in two dimensions. The successful candidate should have a solid background in Statistical Physics; experience with computer simulations and/or polymer or colloidal physics is a plus. 
  • (2) Open position(s) with Prof. Thomas Pichler
    1. Optical study of confined carbyne
    The PhD project deals with ultra-long carbon chains stabilized inside DWCNT. This material was elusive for more than 125 years and was for the first time produced in my laboratory (chains with more than 6000 carbon atoms length) [1]. Theoretically it is predicted as hardest material in the world, but it has to be stabilized. We have results on how to stabilize it via charge transfer and hybridization inside the nanotubes and how this can be theoretically understood and influences the optical properties [2]. Within the PhD a systematic study of the chain length dependent confinement in different nanotubes will be performed in order to challenge the application potential of these novel materials in nano-optics and as sensors.
    [1] DOI: 10.1038/NMAT4617, Nature Materials, 15, 634 (2016); DOI: doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.94.195422, Phys. Rev. B, 94, 195422 (2016); 
    [2] DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201505502, Advanced Functional Materials 26, 4874 (2016); arXiv:1705.02259.

    2. Development of in-situ spectroscopic cells to follow chemical reactions inside carbon nanotubes and graphene towards controlled functionalization.

    The control of functionalization of graphene and carbon nanotubes is crucial for accessing the application potential of these material class. This allows to achieve hybrid structures with tailored properties. The PhD deals with novel setups to spectroscopically control the functionalization degree by analysing their spectroscopic fingerprint. As an example we have recently developed a Raman cell and found the unique fingerprint of covalent sp3 defects in the Raman spectra of highly functionalized graphene [1]. Based on this study the PhD will work on setting up new in-situ functionalization cells, allowing unraveling different spectral fingerprints and to monitor and control and understand the properties in unprecedented details 
    [1] DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15192; Nature Communications 8, 15192 (2017).
  • (2) Open position(s) with Prof. Bernadett Weinzierl
    1. Airborne measurements of the complex refractive index of atmospheric aerosol layers
    In April 2017, the A-LIFE aircraft field experiment (www.a-life.at) was conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean to investigate the properties of absorbing aerosol layers (mineral dust-black carbon mixtures) during their atmospheric lifetime. The overall aim of this PhD project is to determine the complex refractive index of single aerosol particles in complex aerosol mixtures. This includes the characterization and further development of a novel instrument for vertically‐resolved measurements of complex refractive index and size of single aerosol particles, the analysis of data from the A-LIFE field experiment, and the collection and analysis of new data.

    2. Assessing the partitioning between mineral dust and black carbon absorption in aerosol mixtures over the Eastern Mediterranean
    Recently it has been shown that the climate impact of black carbon (BC) is twice as large as originally thought. Due to the rather short lifetimes of BC in the atmosphere (on the order of days to weeks, compared to decades and longer for the main greenhouse gases) as well as its strong warming potential, BC reduction and mitigation strategies are expected to provide climate benefits. However, the attribution of absorption to different aerosol types is challenging. In particular in aerosol mixtures it is still an open research question whether mineral dust absorption is frequently misclassified as BC absorption. The overall aim of this ERC-funded PhD project is to study the partitioning between mineral dust and BC absorption in aerosol mixtures which we investigated during the A-LIFE field experiment (www.a-life.at) in the Eastern Mediterranean in April 2017. This project includes the analysis of in-situ size distribution data of total aerosol and BC, the derivation of optical properties, and the assessment of mineral dust and BC contribution to the total absorption for the investigated aerosol layers.
  • Open position with Prof. Paul Winkler 
    Nucleation and growth rate measurements from anthropogenic precursors in chamber and field experiments
    An open PhD position is currently available in the framework of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network called CLOUD-MOTION. The successful candidate will conduct experimental studies of nanoparticle formation using cutting-edge instrumentation for nanoparticle detection and sizing. This work will partly be performed at the CLOUD experiment at CERN, Switzerland. In addition, field experiments in Vienna are planned to investigate urban nucleation.