PhD position available in solid-state NMR spectroscopy of catalysts at University of Lille

Project title: Surface characterization of catalysts for sustainable development using high-field (DNP)-NMR

A three-year PhD position in solid-state NMR spectroscopy of catalysts is available at the University of Lille, Lille, France. It can start from July 2018.

Project description: Heterogeneous catalysis holds promise for sustainable developments, such as the  valorization of biomass or CO2. Solid-state NMR provides unique information about the atomic-level structure of heterogeneous catalysts.1 Nevertheless, a major limitation is the lack of sensitivity of solid-state NMR, which limits the observation of surfaces, particularly for insensitive quadrupolar isotopes, such as 67Zn.2 Recent instrumental developments, such as high-magnetic field and Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP), can boost the sensitivity of solid-state NMR.3 This project aims at developing and applying novel solid-state NMR methods to probe the local environment of quadrupolar nuclei at the surface of heterogeneous catalysts. The structural information obtained by solid-state NMR will be useful to improve the performances of these heterogeneous catalysts.

Host and research infrastructure: Lille is a vibrant and handsome city, imbued with a rich history, located in the middle of northwestern Europe (only 30 min by high-speed trains from Brussels, 1h from Paris and 1h30 from London). Lille is one of France’s top student cities and the university of Lille is a leading center for magnetic resonance. Lille NMR facility includes 800 and 900 MHz NMR spectrometers and has been selected to host the first 1.2 GHz NMR spectrometer to be installed in France. Our research group is internationally known for the development of solid-state NMR methods, notably for quadrupolar nuclei, and the characterization of hybrid materials. We have an expertise in high-field solid-state NMR spectroscopy and were among the pioneers of high-field DNP-NMR of hybrid and inorganic materials.

The person: We seek application from national and international students who have graduated in physics or chemistry, preferably with a background in material sciences or NMR spectroscopy. The successful applicant will be given the opportunity to work in an exciting environment with national and international collaborations.

Contact: Applications and informal queries about the lab and research projects should be directed by email to



  1. Wang, Z. et al. Brønsted acid sites based on penta-coordinated aluminum species. Nat. Commun. 7, 13820 (2016).
  2. Qi, G. et al. Synergic Effect of Active Sites in Zinc-Modified ZSM-5 Zeolites as Revealed by High-Field Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 15826–15830 (2016).
  3. Lilly Thankamony, A. S. et al. Insights into the Catalytic Activity of Nitridated Fibrous Silica (KCC-1) Nanocatalysts from 15N and 29Si NMR Spectroscopy Enhanced by Dynamic Nuclear Polarization. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 2190–2193 (2015).

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