Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Research Projects

In 2018 there will be 4 scholarships financed by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore:

Preapply for this position (open until May 14th, 2018) at: https://immatricolazioni.unicatt.it/portaleaccesso/
The official call will appear in May 2018.

Advanced optical investigations of halide perovskites and their chemical transformations

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Preapply for this position (open until May 14th, 2018) at: https://immatricolazioni.unicatt.it/portaleaccesso/

Background and motivation

The project will tackle two novel aspects. The first centers on synthesizing chemically complex hybrid perovskite nanostructures and thin films using solution chemistries. This includes mixed cation and mixed anion hybrid perovskite quantum dots, nanowires and nanoplatelets. Hybrid perovskites are important materials for the creation of next generation solar cells. Recent studies have shown that solution-processed hybrid perovskite solar cells can exhibit power conversion efficiencies exceeding 20%. There is similar interest in hybrid perovskite nanostructures where corresponding quantum dot solar cells have achieved power conversion efficiencies exceeding 13%. Despite widespread application of these materials for use in solar energy conversion, much is not understood about the basic photophysics of these materials. Consequently, the second novel aspect of the proposed work will be to conduct detailed spatially-resolved optical measurements of hybrid perovskite photophysics. For mixed cation and anion materials this includes efforts to understand light-induced cation/anion phase segregation. For analogous nanostructures such as nanowires this entails measurements of single wire excited state progressions and absorption/emission Stokes shifts.  Of note is that a debate exists regarding existence of a Stokes shift as it is not immediately predicted by certain theoretical models of the perovskite electronic structure.

The main goals of the project are:

  • Accessing the photophysics of halide perovskites
  • Optical properties of single nano-objects

Profile

  • Diploma: Master's degree or comparable qualification in Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry or adjacent fields. The title must be obtained before OCTOBER 31ST 2018.
  • A strong interest for multidisciplinary research is required.
  • A solid background in physics, materials science or materials chemistry is required.
  • Experience in optical microscopy and solution phase chemical synthesis will be considered as an advantage.
  • Good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written, is essential.
  • Strong commitment, ability to work in a team, and eager for international mobility is desired.

Opportunities

Perform experimental research in an interdisciplinary research environment and actively participate to the international collaboration between research groups in Italy and the United State, with the aim of achieving a doctorate diploma under the joint supervision by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), University of Notre Dame and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The overall tutoring activity will be conducted by staff members at the Italian Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore .

Supervisors

Prof. Liberato Manna, Italian Institute of Technology (Italy)
Prof. Masaru Kuno, University of Notre Dame (U.S.A)
Dr. Francesco Banfi, Univesrità Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Info

SPECIAL NOTE: The net scholarship amounts to 1500 euro/month and will also cover the annual PhD taxes.
Application deadline: September 28th, 2018
Liberato.Manna@iit.it
Francesco.banfi@unicatt.it
mkuno@nd.edu

Time-resolved nanoscopy

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Preapply for this position (open until May 14th, 2018) at: https://immatricolazioni.unicatt.it/portaleaccesso/

Background and motivation

Joint research project between Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), University of Notre Dame du Lac (ND) and KU Leuven.
The aim of the PhD project is to develop a microscopy-oriented research platform combined with time-resolved optical spectroscopy to study single nanostructures and surface inhomogeneities with a spatial resolution of below 100 nm and a temporal resolution of the order of 100 fs.
One of the goal of this projects will be to harness the capability of super-resolution imaging methods that now can provide spatial resolution that is well below the diffraction limit (nanoscopy), approaching virtually molecular resolution.  In particular we will concentrate on label-free and white light super-resolution microscopy based on the detection of evanescent waves. Atomic force microscopy techniques will complement the optical microscopy platform to characterize the mechanical/chemical aspects of the investigated physics. Since these microscopy/nanoscopy techniques comes with novel requirements for the time-resolved optical spectroscopy, new schemes to adapt the standard pump and probe techniques to the microscopy environment will be implemented.
Finally, it will be important to pay attention to the data interpretation strategies, also in view of the data storage and management needed in experiments where a great deal of spectroscopic information is potentially available in each pixel of an image.

Profile

  • Diploma: Master's degree or comparable qualification in Physics, Materials Science, Electronic engineering or adjacent fields. The title must be obtained before OCTOBER 31ST 2018.
  • A strong interest for multidisciplinary research is required.
  • Candidates should have a solid background in optics.
  • Previous experience in microscopy and/or ultrafast optics will be an asset.
  • Good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written, is essential.
  • Strong commitment, ability to work in a team, and eagerness for international mobility is desired.

Opportunities

  • Perform experimental research in an interdisciplinary research environment and actively participate to the international collaboration between research groups in Italy, United States and Belgium. The overall tutoring activity will be conducted by experienced staff members at UCSC, ND and KU Leuven.
  • There will be the possibility of being involved in teaching duties for a limited amount of time (e.g., guiding Bachelor and Master students with their experiments and research).

Supervisors

Prof. Gregory Hartland, University of Notre Dame (USA)
Dr. Eduard Fron, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Prof. Gabriele Ferrini, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Info

Application deadline: September 28th, 2018
ghartlan@nd.edu
eduard.fron@kuleuven.be
gabriele.ferrini@unicatt.it

Quantum field theory, holography and AdS/CFT

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Preapply for this position (open until May 14th, 2018) at: https://immatricolazioni.unicatt.it/portaleaccesso/

Background and motivation

Anti de Sitter / Conformal Field Theory (AdS/CFT) correspondence gives us a unique opportunity both to study strongly coupled field theory systems in a controlled setting and to address fundamental questions in quantum gravity with quantum field theory tools. Candidates are expected to carry out a PhD in Theoretical Physics in Quantum Field Theory and Gauge/Gravity duality.

The main goals of the project are to acquire a solid knowledge in theoretical physics in order to conduct independent research in the following topics:

  • Renormalization group flows in quantum field theory and holography,
  • Non-relativistic field theories and their holographic duals,
  • Supersymmetric theories at strong coupling,
  • Black Holes and gravity duals of quantum information concepts such as entropy and complexity,
  • Conformal field theories and anomalies.

The candidate is also expected to proactively carry out the research project, interacting with the theory staff of UCSC, KU Leuven and other Universities (e.g. University of Milano Bicocca, University of Pisa, and possibly others).

Profile

  • Diploma: Master's degree or comparable qualification in Physics, Mathematical Physics and adjacent fields. The title must be obtained before OCTOBER 31ST 2018.
  • A strong interest for multidisciplinary research is required.
  • A solid background in Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory is required.
  • Experience in AdS/CFT, Black Holes, will be considered as an advantage.
  • Good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written, is essential.
  • Strong commitment, ability to work in a team, and eager for international mobility is desired.

Opportunities

  • Perform theoretical research in an interdisciplinary research environment and actively participate to the international collaboration between research groups in Italy and KU Leuven, with the aim of achieving a doctorate diploma under the joint supervision by KU Leuven and UCSC. The overall tutoring activity will be conducted by Roberto Auzzi and Giuseppe Nardelli, staff members at UCSC and Nikolay Bobev, staff member at KU Leuven.
  • Gain didactical experience by being involved in teaching duties for a limited amount of time (e.g. guiding Bachelor and Master students with their research).

Supervisors

Roberto Auzzi and Giuseppe Nardelli, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)
Nikolay Bobev, KU Leuven (Belgium)

Info

Application deadline: September 28th, 2018
roberto.auzzi@unicatt.it
giuseppe.nardelli@unicatt.it
nikolay.bobev@kuleuven.be

Size-resolved aerosol particle deposition to european broadleaved forests

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Preapply for this position (open until May 14th, 2018) at: https://immatricolazioni.unicatt.it/portaleaccesso/

Background and motivation

Airborne particulate matter (PM) is a subject of major concern in Europe because it has been attributed to the most severe health effects. Vegetation is likely to play an important role in mitigating this source of air pollution because of the large surface area offered by leaves to filter PM out of the air. Many studies aimed at quantifying the dry deposition of PM to vegetation, particularly in forests. However the characterization of the exchange processes are still incomplete. PM deposited on leaves, for example, can be re-suspended in air, while the only process that represents the ultimate removal of PM from the atmosphere is the washing off by precipitation dripping from leaves to the soil. Up to now only a couple of models attempted to include the above-mentioned processes in their formulation, but their description is far from truly mechanistic and should be still validated. The aim of this PhD project is the micrometeorological characterization of the size-resolved PM deposition and resuspension processes to European broadleaved forests under different climatic conditions with related possible physiological interactions. The research will consist of a combination of experimental and observational work both in the field (eddy covariance) and in the Lab (wind tunnel or growth chambers) with the aim to improve the actual deposition models.

Profile

  • Diploma: Master's degree or comparable qualification in physics, with a strong background in environmental physics and ecology. Degrees in environmental science, forest or plant science are welcome too, provided a sound preparation in environmental physics are presented. The title must be obtained before OCTOBER 31ST 2018.
  • A solid background in atmospheric physics and micrometeorology is required electronics, as well as skills in electronics, programming and modelling.
  • Experience in Knowledge of ecology and plant physiology will be considered as an advantage. Applicants should love experimental work in open-air and should not deny the practical work, such as wiring, cabling and installing probes, mounting masts and supports, programming and running new instrumentation.
  • Good knowledge of the English language, both spoken and written, is essential.
  • Strong commitment, ability to work in a team, and eager for international mobility is desired.

Opportunities

  • Perform experimental research in an interdisciplinary research environment and actively participate to the international collaboration between research groups in with the aim of achieving a doctorate diploma under the joint supervision by UCSC and KU Leuven. The candidate will have the opportunity to work in a fully instrumented Eddy Covariance site in Italy and in a similar site in Belgium where micro-meteorological towers have been installed. At the same time he/she will have access to different labs where particular topics could be investigated.
  • Gain didactical experience by being involved in teaching duties for a limited amount of time (e.g., guiding Bachelor and Master students with their experiments and research).

Supervisors

Prof. Giacomo Al. Gerosa: tel + 39 030 2406724
Prof. Bart Muys: tel +32 16 32 97 26

Info

Application deadline: September 28th, 2018
giacomo.gerosa@unicatt.it
bart.muys@kuleuven.be