Information for BSc or MSc thesis students

Contact Florian Meirer for more information on possibilities of doing a BSc or MSc thesis project in our group. Please note that for enquiries about PhD student positions, the PI of interest should be contacted directly.

From an industrial as well as from an academic point of view catalysis research is of utmost importance. Catalytic processes are essential to modern energy conversion processes, chemicals manufacture and environmental technology.

Indeed, virtually all fuels and most of the chemicals we produce today, have encountered a (solid) catalyst in their production process. Catalysis research is aimed at waste/pollutant reduction (e.g. in automotive catalysis), more efficient and clean chemicals manufacturing (e.g. higher product yields), new and useful products (e.g. medicines and transportation fuels) and the development of new technologies, for instance, for the production of sustainable materials, chemicals and fuels from renewable resources. Examples of the latter are the conversion of biomass to chemicals and fuels, the production of solar fuels, and energy storage, for instance, in the form of hydrogen.

Heterogeneous catalysts, or more specifically solid catalysts are industrially most important as about 80% of the applied catalytic processes makes use of such solids. Such heterogeneous catalysts are complex materials, that are (preferably) highly structured at all the relevant length scales, i.e. from the macroscopic catalyst body all the way up to the nanoscale.

Research 

In our group we work on

  1. the design and controlled synthesis of catalyst materials,
  2. testing the catalyst materials in known as well as newly-developed conversion processes, and
  3. the extensive characterization of the complex catalyst materials using advanced spectroscopic and microscopic techniques.
  4. the development of theoretical models for catalysis and spectroscopy.

The type of conversions studied range from Fischer-Tropsch type reactions, typical petrochemical conversions such as Fluid Catalytic Cracking or propane dehydrogenation, methanol synthesis, conversion of biomass components such as lignin or renewable oxygenates to valuable chemicals, solar fuels production by water splitting, reversible gas storage and many more.

The topics are mostly inorganic in nature, but range from theory and spectroscopy, via physical chemistry and materials science to those that are at the interface of inorganic and organic chemistry.

Academic staff

The academic staff of the group currently consists of prof. Krijn de Jong, prof. Bert Weckhuysen, prof. Frank de Groot, prof. Petra de Jongh, prof. Eelco Vogt, dr. Rosa Bulo, dr. Florian Meirer, dr. Peter Ngene, dr. Jovana Zečević, dr. Gareth Whiting, dr. Freddy Rabouw (joint appointment with Soft Condensed Matter) and dr. Baira Donoeva.

For their personal research interests, as well as of all the PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, please see the respective pages on this website.

Bachelor & Master Thesis Projects

As Bachelor student you can join us for

  1. a short research projects as part of the first and second practical courses;
  2. a BSc thesis research project (10 weeks of practical work, 15 ECTS).

MSc students can join us for an MSc research project of 52.5 ECTS.

Internships/Traineeships

The group is internationally recognized as leading in catalytic nanomaterials and many of our projects involve extensive collaborations with a large number of industries, such as, Shell, Albemarle Catalysts, DSM, Total, Toyota, BASF, and DOW, and with other academic groups in e.g. Europe, USA and South-Africa. In all these companies and academic institutions internships are possible. If you have a specific scientific topic in the field of catalysis in mind, we will do our best to find the right host and supervisor for you.

Who are we looking for?

To develop and study new catalyst materials or catalytic processes, we are looking for enthusiastic and dynamic students with an interest in inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, spectroscopy, or, depending on the project, also theoretical chemistry and organic chemistry.

Generally, the research training starts with the design and synthesis or assembly of an inorganic material, for instance, a catalyst consisting of metal nanoparticles on a porous support material. This inorganic material can also be a zeolite, an ordered mesoporous or microporous material, or a nanostructured carbon material. For structural and electronic characterization, a large number of techniques are available, such as advanced spectroscopic tools (also synchrotron-based), electron microscopy techniques, or scanning probe techniques. A few of the spectroscopic techniques can also be used at high temperature and under reactive atmosphere studying the functional material in action (in situ), enabling the elucidation of the active sites, species, and reaction mechanism. Theoretical studies and fundamental studies on model catalyst systems are also a possibility. In summary, the research group offers you a program with a wide range of possibilities for working on theoretical and/or practical challenges.

Foreign BSc and MSc students

We regularly host exchange students from foreign countries for research projects ranging from three to twelve months, for instance as part of the Erasmus program. Acceptance is dependent on capacity selection.

More information

Different projects are available as part of the various research topics of our PhD students and postdocs. See the personal pages of the people working in our group for a flavor of the topics that are covered in the group.

Interested?

Please contact the education coordinator. We can give you detailed information about doing your research at our group and introduce you to the PhD’s with whom you can do your research.

Contact information

Dr. Florian Meirer
David de Wied building (Universiteitsweg 99), room 4.86.
Phone: +31 6 22736338
E-mail: f.meirer@uu.nl