Advanced Nanotechnologies and Microtechnologies
CEITEC VUTAbbreviation: ANTMTAcad. year: 2020/2021
Programme: Advanced Materials and Nanosciences
Length of Study: 4 years
Accredited from: 1.1.2011Accredited until:
The research is focussed on the area of nanotechnologies covering materials and structures to be exploited in nanoelectronic and nanophotonic applications. The research involves the preparation, characterization and analysis of the properties of nanostructures enabling active application of principles, which determine unique and specific properties of nanostructures. Attention will be paid to the research of 2D – OD nanostructures produced by lithographic (top-down) methods and self-organizing (bottom-up) methods. The research will consider semiconductor nanostructures, magnetic and metallic nanostructures, nanotubes and nanofibres, supra-molecules and nano-electronic material on the edge of Moore's law etc.
Issued topics of Doctoral Study Program
- In-situ microscopy and spectroscopy of 2D materials growth
The observation of 2D materials growth at nanoscale is a challenging task. In our group, we have a large expertise in real time electron microscopy and we operate beyond-state-of-the-art instrumentation (LEEM, FTIR in UHV and SEM for observations in extreme conditions). The aim of this PhD dissertation is to revealing the growth modes of 2D materials (transitiv metal dichalcogenides, group-IV-based 2D materials etc.) and thein properties by advanced microscopy and spectroscopy in UHV as well as under high pressure and at high temperature.
- Advanced laser ablation based analytical techniques for high resolutin mapping
Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a technique providing fast analysis of investigated sample surface. Its performance is oriented on repetition rate and thus enable elemental imaging of large-scale areas. Currently, the LIBS analysis has resolution on the level of hundreds of microns which is not sufficient for high-end applications, especially in biology. The goal of this thesis is to design a LIBS system with high spatial resolution with satisfactory sensitivity in detection of selected analytes.
- Antibacterial wound dressing based on surface-modified polymer nanofibers
: An increasing number of persons show difficulties for wound healing due to diseases (diabetes, chronic infections, immuno-depressive patients), and age. Also, treatment of severe burn lesions remains a challenging task because of infectious complications, and the decrease in immune reactivity of organism. The resistance of an increased number of pathogens to antibiotics or other drugs makes the skin wound healing process more complicated. In parallel, more care is given to the cytotoxicity of biocides or compounds used in medical implants or dressings and the impact on the environment after their disposal. Polymer nanofibrous mats are promising materials for wound dressing due to the mat structure similar to the extracellular matrix of the skin, the porosity enabling to absorb moisture, promote the exchange of gases and deliver bioactive molecules to the wound area, and low costs of the fabrication. The aim of the thesis is to investigate antibacterial modifications of nanofibrous mats, e.g., by drug-loaded liposome particles, addition of natural biocides based on lignin nanoparticles and coating of nanofibers by thin copper films. Plasma technologies will be tested for improvements of material adhesion and functionalities.
- Application of KPFM in graphene based sensors and solar cells
Kelvin's probe force microscopy (KPFM) is an excellent tool for mapping the distribution of surface potential locally up to nanometer resolution. This can be advantageously used in a study of charge distribution on nanometer-sized sensors and at investigation of p-n interfaces of solar cells during their operation. This new information, in addition to commonly studied sensor current responses and solar cell voltage responses, makes it easier to understand the ongoing physical processes, use this knowledge to eliminate the shortcomings of existing devices, and possibly to design higher efficiency devices. At work, you will need to master the general physical principles of KPFM, sensors and solar cells. A suitable applicant is a graduate of a Master's degree in Physics, Electrical Engineering or Chemistry. Aims: 1) Mastering physical principles and measurement of graphene-based sensors and solar cells. 2) Adopting theoretical and practical aspects of KPFM. 3) Mapping the charge distribution close to a graphene sensor and designing more sophisticated sensors. 4) Mapping the potential distribution on the graphene-semiconductor solar cell interface and designing the cell with higher efficiency. 5) Adequate publishing outputs and presentation of results at international conferences.
- Application of nanozymes instead of natural enzyme in electrochemical biosensing
The inherent problems of the natural enzymes include the poor stability in sever conditions of pH and temprature , low activity, high cost, as well as competitive and non-competitive inhibition which affect the efficiency of the enzyme based biosensors. With emerge of the nanomaterials they have been utilized in a wide range of applications. Due to their features including high surface to volume ratio, high electrical conductivity and possessing catalytic activity they have attracted the attention in biosensors development. Furthermore some types of the nanomaterials possess the catalytic activity similar to the natural enzyme. Nanomaterials which mimic the enzyme like activity could be a potential substitute for their natural analogues. These nanomaterials are thought to be a promising alternatives for the natural enzyme since they are easy to produce, low cost and more stable compared to their natural analogues. Moreover their catalytic activity can be modulated by modifying the synthesis procedure. In this project the nanomaterials which are thought to have the enzyme like activity are synthesized and fully characterized. Their enzyme-like activity toward a given substrate is measured by spectroscopic and amperometric methods. The effect of various parameters such as size, shape, synthesis procedure on their catalytic activity will be investigated. The results obtained in the project will be applied to develope highly stable, sensitive and selective nanobiosensors which can be applied for point of care detection in clinical diagnosis, food quality control and enviromental monitoring.
- Atomic arrangement effect on mechanical and magnetic properties of the superalloy materials.
Superalloys are perspective materials formed with a specific composite microstructure. They are composed of two coherent phases (one of them has a reinforcing effect). The microstructure created in this way is beneficial from many points of view, especially higher strength, high-temperature stability, and intrinsic magnetic properties. The study of these materials has been a hot topic in recent years. However, several physical problems explaining their behavior remain unresolved. One of the most interesting physical issues is the study of intrinsic interfaces and atomic arrangement effect on the mechanical and magnetic properties, which is the topic of this proposed Ph.D. program. The proposed experimental study will be complementary and synergistically linked with theoretical research at the Institute of Physics of Materials of the ASCR, which is focused on the atomic structure and internal defect calculations of advanced materials. Doctorand will study these chosen materials with up-to-date experimental methods. He/she will acquire experience in electron microscopy methods (including high-resolution methods and electron holography). Received experimental data will be used for subsequent studies of these materials.
- Biophysical properties of life cells
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The goal of this work is to study adhesion force between nanostructured surface and living cells. The student will set up a system of nanostructured pillars (substrates with those patterns are already available for the student) with desired surface properties. It is expected that the cells will attached to the top of the pillars and due to adhesion forces the cells will deform the pillars’ shapes. The student will capture a real-time video of the structure using either confocal or holographic microscope. The video will be processed by a script in MATLAB environment to create a real-time video of the adhesion force between the cell and the pillars. PhD candidate will work together with Regional Centre for Applied Molecular Oncology (RECAMO).
- Brillouin light scattering studies of magnonic devices
Magnonics is emerging as a promising technology for future information processing. The wave character and Joule heating-free propagation of spin waves promises highly efficient computing platforms based on integrated magnonic circuits. To advance the magnonics towards real application, the shift to exchange spin waves with short wavelengths. Micro-focus BLS technique is an established method for the investigation of spin waves in micro and nanostructured magnetic elements and is especially usefull in magnonics, however its sensitivity decreases with shortening the spin-wave wavelength. The goal of this PhD project is to push the limits of the BLS technique and explore the possibilities of near field optical elements to extend the BLS sensitivity towards shorter wavelengths.
Tutor: Urbánek Michal, Ing., Ph.D.
- Calibration of laser spectroscopy systems and quantitative analysis
Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is most often used for qualitative analysis of samples. Consequent quantitative analysis is, however, not trivial step in data processing which demands tedious calibration of analytical system to signal of the analyte. There exist numerous alternative ways in prediction of the analyte in unknown sample, basic separation dictates univariate and multivariate algorithms. The topic of this thesis is the comparison of individual approaches to quantitative analysis and prediction when emphasizing the trueness and precision. Partial goal is the development of a robust methodology for system calibration regardless of the analyzed sample matrix.
- Complex automated bioreactor for holographic microscopy
For maximum information yield about live cells behaviour provided by coherence controlled holographic microscopy it is inevitable to design and develop complex automated bioreactor. Such a device should ensure optically suitable accommodation of live cells in the microscope with provision of control over physiological microenvironment and preprogrammed challenges. The task is to design, develop and validate the complex automated biorector for T1 holographic microscope.
Tutor: Veselý Pavel, MUDr., CSc.
- Coordination compounds showing the magnetic bi- or multistability
Proposed PhD project is oriented on the synthesis and characterization of magnetically active transition metal and/or lanthanide complexes showing specific magnetic phenomena like spin crossover effect, single molecule magnetism or single chain magnetism. Such coordination compounds exhibit magnetic bi- or multistability and in this sense are very attractive from the application point of view. Possible technological utilization might be in the case of high capacity memory devices, display technologies, spinotronics, contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging etc. PhD study will be focused on the advanced organic and coordination synthesis of mononuclear and polynuclear complexes of transition metals and/or lanthanides. New-prepared compounds will be characterized by analytical and spectral methods and magnetic properties will be studied by means MPMS SQUID.
- Correlation of X-ray computed tomography with microscopic techniques for material characterisation
X-ray computed tomography (CT) is an important method for 3D non-destructive imaging of samples in many fields. It is commonly used in industry for defect detection and quality control, scientific projects utilise imaging and quantification of data and apply a number of analyses to determine morphological and physical parameters. To put CT data in context with other methods, they often have to be supplemented with established imaging methods such as electron and light microscopy and qualitative techniques such as X-ray spectroscopy. The data from each technique typically have a different format, size, resolution, etc. Combining such different information about samples is a challenge. When correlating two different 3D datasets, it is necessary to ensure that the sample structures correspond to each other. For a combination of 2D and 3D techniques, a corresponding 2D section has to be found in the 3D dataset. This requires a programming approach or a use of special software. The work will deal with techniques of correlation of information from various imaging methods. Such a multidisciplinary approach is in high demand today and has a big potential.
- CRISPR/Cas9 system to study of secondary metabolism of unicellular algae
The aim of this thesis is to investigate of secondary metabolism of unicellular algae using genome editing based on Crispr/Cas9 technology. The main goal will be the construction of knockout generation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii strain in genes involved in biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. Subsequently, use the ambient mass spectrometry under ambient conditions with desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) and direct analysis in real time (DART) to study metabolome in the obtained strains.
- Depth profiling of layered materials using laser spectroscopy
Engineering and production of novel materials, including coatings and layers, is demanding new analytical solutions. Compared to other analytical techniques, Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) enables selective ablation of layers with variable depth resolution. However, the depth of the analysis with certain number of laser pulses differs for individual materials. The calibration of depth to laser pulse number is also of an issue, while there is no solid evidence for this phenomenon in classical LIBS literature. The goal of this thesis is to find complementary approaches, for instance using Computed Tomography and standard approaches of metallography, in depth profiling in order to fully calibrate LIBS technique to depth profile analysis. As an output, methodological protocol applicable across broad range of materials is demanded.
- Detection of microplastics in biological tissue using laser spectroscopy methods
Plastic materials are intensively polluting our environment. They are getting into the food chain and influencing individual bio-organisms in the form of microplastics. Their toxicity and impact on living organisms, thus, must be assessed. The topic of this thesis is to find an integrative approach to study the fate and effects of emerging microplastics in the aquatic environment. Main goal is to find methodology for analysis of microplastics accumulated in aquatic organisms in order to understand adverse outcomes.
- Detection of protein biomarkers using ultrathin silicon
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The goal of this work is to perform theoretical study, design, fabrication and characterization of nanosheet sensors made by an advanced planar technology in combination with pulse method, such as lock-in amplification. Goal of this work is to study, characterize and optimize an array of sensors made from ultrathin single crystal silicon (chips have been fabricated and they are available). This silicon device with thickness of 10.5 nm can be used as resistive sensor connected as van den Pauw device or as Hall sensor to detect intensity of magnetic field. Change of charge at its surface will modulate its conductivity or magnetic particle its properties as Hall sensor. The device will be powered by a current pulses and the output will be process by a lock-in amplifier. PhD candidate will identify the system signal noise ratio and limit of detection (LOD) of the biosubstances of interest. He/she will also design and fabricate a simple microfluidic system to confine the tested sample at suitable location at the chip. There is also required to optimize the buffer solutions not to affect the measurement. PhD candidate will analyze the type of silane crosslinkers and their utilization using chemical vapor deposition technique. Basic properties will be conducted using albumin. Next the PhD candidate will perform specific reaction antibody - antigen of one biomarker and determines its LOD. PhD candidate will work together either with Regional Centre for Applied Molecular Oncology (RECAMO) as they have cancer’s biomarkers or with partner group at Mendel University. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC. Part of the project might be also carried out in P.R. China, based on current exchange program and mutual agreement, i.e. it is NOT mandatory.
- Development and application of eucaryotic cell-based microcolumn separation techniques
The thesis will focus on development of new generation of electromigration capillary separation techniques by designing, preparation and testing of novel smart interactive phases for capillary electrophoresis or capillary electrochromatography. The designed phases will be based on living cells able to selectively transform target analyte from the complex sample to a detectable product. Manufacturing phase will be based on genetic modification technology enabling not only tailor the cell receptors towards the target analyte (to be extracted from the sample and internalized into the cell) but also modify the cellular pathway for transformation of the analyte into the product and its release back into the capillary flow.
- Development of a 500 MHz DNP-NMR system
The introduction of pulse techniques to the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy had dramatically enhanced its sensitivity, which, in turn, had changed its application landscape. For example, it gave birth to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — a revolutionary and (nowadays) indispensable tool in medical diagnosis and staging of disease. The further increase in sensitivity will improve the resolution and recording time of MRI scans, making it cheaper and more accessible. The most promising path in this direction is the so-called dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) enhanced NMR. In this method, the much higher polarization of the electron’s spin is transferred to the nuclear spin via hyperpolarization processes. This technique has already proven its usefulness demonstrating the hundreds of times improvement of the sensitivity. The main goal of the project is to increase further the efficiency of DNP-NMR, and it consists of two parts. Firstly, we will couple the existing 500 MHz NMR console with our 16 T superconductive magnet in order to be able to run solid-state NMR. For this goal, the PhD student will design and develop the DNP-NMR probe for solid-state samples. The second part is devoted to experiments on the DNP enhanced NMR and improving the efficiency of hyperpolarization processes.
- Development of advanced optical layers for power lasers
The dissertation thesis will deal with the development of advanced optical layers for power lasers. This development will be carried out in cooperation with Meopta company. The work will deal with the controlled destruction of layers by a power laser and subsequent analysis by methods available in CEITEC nano (especially SIMS and TEM). This development is funded by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic until the end of 2023. The aim of the development is to measure the Laser induced damage threshold (LIDT) of existing optic layers manufactured by Meopta and at the same time to improve LIDT of these layers. The work can also deal with simulations of laser destruction using LUMERICAL program.
- Development of computational procedures and computer programs for processing pulsed EPR data
Pulsed Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) methods are intensively used to investigated structure and dynamics of complex macromolecules containing unpaired electrons. Among these methods Pulsed Electron-Electron Double Resonance (PELDOR) also known as Double Electron-Electron Resonance (DEER) has emerged as a powerful technique to determine relative orientation and distance between macromolecular structural units on nanometre scale. For successful applications of pulsed EPR methods it is important to have tools enabling transformation of measured signals into structural information. The goal of this PhD project is to develop new effective computational procedures and computer programs for the processing of measured pulsed EPR data in order to extract structural and dynamical information from experiments. This goal also includes application of the developed computational methods to real experimental data obtained on the molecules tagged with spin labels. For more details please contact Petr Neugebauer.
- Dimensionality reduction of spectroscopic data
The amount of data obtained in one experiment is steadily increasing. Contemporary state-of-the-art Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy system provide bulky data sets with millions of objects (spectra) and thousands of variables (wavelengths). Thus, there is a must driven by more efficient data storage, handling and processing; this might be tackled by lowering the dimension of raw data sets. This demands to truncate the information and omit redundancy and noise. In this work, advanced mathematical algorithms will be investigated, with special attention to non-linear algorithms. The main parameter is robustness of the algorithm. Outcomes of this thesis will be directly applied to data processing in various applications, including the multivariate mapping of sample surface.
- Direct ink writing for fabrication of biological-tissue-like-constructs
This PhD research topic explores Direct Ink Writing method, also known as robocoasting, for in vitro fabrication of tissue-like-constructs with potential application as i) tissue or organ substitutes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches or ii) development of models for in vitro testing of drugs and new therapies. Direct ink writing is an additive manufacturing method able to produce polymeric, ceramic or metallic shapes, besides, it offer the possibility to use cell-loaded materials to fabricate directly cell-containing constructs. Along the studies, the candidate will have the opportunity to learn and work from the synthesis of the materials for manufacturing, to the biological characterization of the manufactured constructs. Principal attention will devote to fabrication of bone-like tissues, but according with the results, other tissues such as pancreas, muscle or neuronal will be addressed. Highly motivated and collaborative candidates with outstanding track of records and with the ambition to learn from both materials and biological sciences are welcome to submit an application.
- Effect of metal ions and metal clusters to peptides structure and their contribution to toxicity
The metal ions Cu, Zn and Fe ions are proposed to be implicated in two key steps of peptide pathology: 1) aggregation of the peptide and 2) production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by peptide in plant. In this context, the understanding of how these metal ions interact with peptides, their influence on structure and oligomerization become an important issue for peptide application. The requirement for pharmaceutical systems with reduced side-effects calls for the development of more advanced biomaterials with multifunctionality, increased biocompatibility and minimum toxicity. Peptides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional material used in plant treatment. Peptides generally affect only the target pest and closely related organisms, in contrast to broad spectrum, conventional pesticides that may affect organisms as different as birds, insects and mammals. On the other hand, biopeptides often are effective in very small quantities and decompose quickly, resulting in lower exposures and largely avoiding the pollution problems of soil and water caused by conventional pesticides. The peptides are expected to be that biocompatible material because of the nature of their components. However, metal ions inherit the multifunctional properties of peptides which have a pH tunable surface charge (charge patch) and a distribution of hydrophobic units (hydrophobicity patch) directly change the toxicity nature of peptide. Moreover, the mechanism of ROS production by metal-peptide complexes is in relation to its aggregations state, as well as the metal-transfer reaction from and to peptides are crucial in order to understand if peptides oligomers are highly toxic to the soil and plants and why peptides seems to bind Fe, Cu and Zn.
- Electrochemical detection of protein biomarkers with microfluidic chip
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The goal of this work is to perform theoretical study, design, fabrication and characterization of gold electrochemical sensors (EC) made by planar technology in combination with pulse electrochemical method, such as lock-in amplification. PhD candidate will perform detail analysis of electrode behavior and optimize their geometry. Besides that the student will design and fabricate a microfluidic system, which will allow to define the flow of liquid between individual electrochemical sensors. The lock-in amplification technique allows concurrently interrogate a few sensors. Basic characteristic will be perform using model Fe2+/Fe3+ system and compare with standard cyclic voltammetry. PhD candidate will then perform specific reaction antibody/antigen at the gold surface after the surface is treated with a thiol cross linker that there will be different antibody at each EC cell. PhD candidate will work together either with Regional Centre for Applied Molecular Oncology (RECAMO) or with partner group at Mendel University. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC. Part of the project might be also carried out in P.R. China, based on current exchange program and mutual agreement, i.e. it is NOT mandatory.
- Electrochemical properties of nanostructured materials
Aim of this work is theoretical study, deposition and characterization nanostructured materials such as Au, Ag and their amalgams. Student is expected to optimize their deposition technique and characterize their properties, such as surface area and composition. Then the student will fabricate biosensing chip based on an array of those nanostructured materials and again perform their fundamental characterization using electrochemical, optical and electrical methods. Then the array of nanostructure electrodes in a microfluidic system will be used to perform an early cancer detection based on diagnosis of circulation cancer DNA. The chip fabrication, characterization will be conducted at CEITEC in collaboration with hospital laboratories, such as RECAMO.
- Electron tweezers and development of new applications
The dissertation will deal with the development of electron tweezers, which allows to move droplets of eutectic liquids on the surface of semiconductors. The electron tweezers utilize the focused electron beam and is already tested in the UHV-SEM microscope, developed in cooperation with TESCAN company. During the controlled movement, the gold-containing droplet can for example etch or otherwise modify the surface of semiconductors (germanium, silicon). The dissertation thesis should focus on the interaction of different eutectic droplets with various substrates including 2D materials (graphene, etc.). Part of this work will be optimization of this process including its real-time monitoring using UHV-SEM microscope.
- Engineered 2D materials for biosensing
The great success of graphene throws new light on discovering more two-dimensional (2D) layered nanomaterials that stem from atomically thin 2D sheets. Compared with a single element of graphene, emerging graphene-like 2D materials composed of multiple elements that possess more versatility, greater flexibility and better functionality with a wide range of potential applications. This project highlights unique morphology, biocompatibility and physicochemical properties of 2D materials with focus on their applications in electrochemical biosensing and optical biosensing. Thus, we are looking for highly motivated Ph.D. students with ability to carry out the research project independently, interpret the data and write manuscript. Background in 2D materials, microfabrication and characterisation techniques and biosensing is strongly advantageous.
- Fabrication of nanowire based devices for use in nanophotonics or bio-intefaces
Due to their geometry, one-dimensional materials seem to be natural building blocks for many device systems, e.g. in electronics or photonics. They can be easily and reproducibly contacted and allow to design 3D devices. Additionally, they seem to be natural choice for nanoscale electrodes (e.g. for detecting cells signalling) or for nanoscale-patterned macroscale electrodes (e.g. in electrochemistry). Currently, mostly undergraduates in our group deal with lithography, which is necessary for device design. We seek for a PhD candidate capable of fabricating a device geometry on demand, and aiming at performing measurements (electrical, optical) relevant for the device application (photonics, bio interfacing, sensing etc.).
- Functionalization of pore–solid nanoarchitectures for environmental catalysis
Aerogels are a unique class of highly porous, solid materials that are characterized by network-like, mesoporous, open-pore microstructure and have a complex of exceptional characteristics, such as extremely high surface area, low density, high catalytic activity, negligible heat conductivity, etc. A promising research area is the surface functionalization of aerogels and other related highly porous architectures (xerogels, ambigels) with catalytically active species. This will allow to use this materials for a wide range of energy applications, such as catalysts for the production of hydrogen, electrolytes and electrode materials in solid-oxide fuel cells etc. The present research work aims at the exploration of new possibilities for the development of improved environmental catalysts based on modified single-phase and multicomponent aerogels. Synthesis methods to be used will allow to employ various oxide systems for building aerogel templates (based on perovskite, pyrochlore, zirconia, titania etc), while several other techniques (sol-gel synthesis, nanoparticle introduction, atomic layer deposition etc) will be applied to modify obtained templates to prepare catalysts of high gas reforming efficiency, selectivity and stability.
Tutor: Tkachenko Serhii, Ph.D.
- Gas sensitive nanomaterials for room temperature operation
Monitoring of chemicals such as gases and vapors using portable instruments is essential in different areas. For instance in environmental surveillance, in which it is needed an accurate control of greenhouse gases (e.g., CO2, CH4 and N2O) and large number of sensing systems to provide ubiquity. Nanomaterial-based gas sensors are attractive over other portable gas sensing instruments in environmental surveillance (including microfabricated designs of ‘classic’ analytical instruments as gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy or ion mobility spectrometers) due to their relatively simple architecture that allows for high levels of integration, miniaturization and in turn low cost production. At present, the major concerns in nanomaterial-based gas sensors are focused on ‘typical’ operational parameters such sensitivity, selectivity and stability, as well as on their power consumption which is generally associated to the need of thermal activation at temperatures above 200 °C. The use of conducting polymers or carbon-based materials can solve in part these issues providing sensitivity to specific gaseous analytes near room temperature (i.e. with less power consumption). However their reversibility and stability are not as good as that of traditionally gas sensitive materials based on semiconducting metal oxides. Hence the need of engineering further gas sensitive materials, including semiconducting metal oxides and/or modified (composites/hybrid) structures by combining inorganic and organic materials to achieve chemical, electronic, and optical sensitization and stability at room temperature. Hence, this thesis will aim at tuning the chemical, electronic, and optical properties of nanomaterials synthetized via liquid- or vapor-phase chemical routes (e.g., hydrothermal synthesis and chemical vapor deposition) to achieve gas sensitivity at room temperature. The specific tasks will focus on: 1. Synthesis of gas sensitive nanomaterials based on rare-earth doped metal oxides 2. Synthesis of hybrid/composite (inorganic and organic) gas sensitive materials 3. Material analysis and gas sensing characterization to greenhouse gases. The work will include active collaboration with other research groups particularly at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (Spain). With this project, the student will acquire knowledge on synthesis of materials, gas sensors, and chemical/electrical/optical characterization techniques.
Tutor: Vallejos Vargas Stella, Dr.
- Characterization of Nanoparticles and Nanoparticle Systems
Nanoparticles and nanoparticle systems have a unique position among nanomaterials. They have many important applications in technologies, biology, and medicine, and a huge potential for future developments. The physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles (nanometric volumes of materials) are fundamentally influenced by their morphology. Decreasing the particle size enlarges the surface-to-volume ratio, which can be utilized in chemical reactions (chemical catalysis), and to tune physical properties of these materials (quantum dots, superparamagnetic and magnetic nanoparticles). The topic of this dissertation is the structural and phase characterizations of nanoparticles and their aggregates using electron microscopy. The experimental results will help to unravel the relationship between their properties and structure, and will be used to optimize their synthesis method and functionalization.
- Charge transport and its fluctuation at electrode/electrolyte interface
Due to stochastic nature of the matter, physical processes in materials are considered to be stochastic, and they reveal as fluctuation of measurable quantities macroscopically. Not only in sensorsics, these fluctuations are usually called noise, since they are assumed to be unwanted and distracting components, which do not carry any information. The aim is study of chargé transport and fluctuation mechanisms at electrode/electrolyte interface. Practical results lay in development of physical and electrical models on the basis of experimental study of amperometric gas sensors.
- Increase of a dielectric constant of ceramic materials for application in capacitors
High permittivity materials are needed for new applications, eg. in the next generation integrated circuits or in capacitors. In the manufacture of capacitors, materials with high permittivity are desirable to achieve a higher density of energy in the capacitor and hence to diminish the dimensions. Nowadays, pure BaTiO3 material is used for commercial ceramic capacitors. By doping the permittivity of this material can be increased up to 10 times. The aim is to find options for BaTiO3 to increase the permittivity in the form of doping or material modification. Internship at the University of Oulu is planned.
- Inelastic deformation of nanocrystalline aluminum-based films
Aluminum films with various additives and with thickness of 20 – 100 nm will undergo heat treatments to optimize the grain size and stabilize the grain boundaries. The toughness of the samples will be tested by deformation at temperatures up to 400°C and their micro-structure will be studied using transmission electron microscopy. The obtained results will be simulated using molecular dynamics.
Tutor: Fikar Jan, Mgr., Ph.D.
- Infrared spectroscopy of self-assembled molecular systems on surfaces
Self-assembly is a promising route to fabricate nanostructures with atomic precision. Targeted design of molecular precursors allows to program nanostructures with desired functional properties. The basic functional units form extended long-range ordered assemblies, the structure of which is a result of delicate interplay of molecule-molecule and molecule-substrate interactions. Infrared spectroscopy can be an important method to asses the type of bonding within the self-assembled or metal-organic networks. The goal of Ph.D. study is to develop the infra-red spectroscopy methodology to be capable of routine measurement of self-assembled systems and determine the binding in them. The experimental research within the PhD study aims at development of methodology of surface sensitive infrared spectroscopy on an UHV PM-IRAS setup for molecular systems at surfaces. The IR analysis results are combined with low-energy electron microscopy and diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy, which are available within the UHV system; the experimental measurements can be complemented by DFT description available in the group. This should provide a detailed view on the nature of intermolecular bonding. One of the questions to answer within the Ph.D. is the nature of carboxylate bonding to the benzene ring of neighboring molecule: is it ionic-hydrogen- or substrate-mediated bonding? (For detailed information, please, directly contact the Jan Čechal)
Tutor: Čechal Jan, doc. Ing., Ph.D.
- Integration of Functional Plasmonic Waveguides with Mid-Infrared Sensors
Plasmonic waveguides were demonstrated to be an ideal component of monolithic infrared sensing platforms. While at present, they are commonly used for the confinement and guidance of optical modes, they offer a lot of potential to make a transition from purely passive to functional components of optical systems. The candidate should investigate the fabrication of metal-dielctric stacks for sensing applications at near- and mid-infrared wavelengths by UHV sputtering processes. Experimental work will include the optimization of the deposition processes, as well as lithographic structuring and device characterization. Previous experience with relevant equipment within the CEITEC Nano Facilities (UHV sputtering, lithography, ellipsometry) is of advantage. Applicants should be fluent in English and committed to self-motivated work in an international research group. Further relevant skills include utility programming for data analysis and lab automation (e.g. C++, Ruby, Python, Linux) as well as documentation and publication of results (LaTeX, etc.). The group of Dr. Hermann Detz focuses on novel materials for sensing applications in near- and mid-infrared sensing platforms. Particular emphasis is placed on the integration of novel plasmonic materials with established III-V optoelectronic devices. The group provides a multi-disciplinary, international environment. Scientific results are published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences.
Tutor: Detz Hermann, Dr.techn. Ing.
- "Internet of Things" based on DNA / RNA detection for global health monitoring
The PhD candidate will develop fast, user-friendly, and affordable Internet of Things (IoT) system based on existing miniaturized polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device. The student will first identify the system structure, method of communication and result registration via internet. Then the student will develop a system to amplify RNA either from dengue fever or another virus based on existing portable PCR hardware. The resulting data will then automatically upload via a suitable interface to an Android-based smartphone and then wirelessly sent to a global network, instantly making the test results available anywhere in the world. Then a software interpreting the result will be developed to shown the RNA spreading on a map with suitable statistics. Then existing PCR will be used to detect RNA using RT-PCR reaction with addition of a simple sample preparation to demonstrate the entire system capability using field testing.
- Investigation of quantum phase transitions via Electron Spin Resonance
Magnetism emerges in matter due to the presence of unpaired electronic spins and the interaction between them in a wide range of materials from oxides to molecular materials. The collective behavior of spins, also known as quantum entanglement of spins, is a very active area of research with application to communication and computation. Electron spin resonance (ESR) is a key technique that enables to investigate spin states and spin-spin interactions. It has been successfully applied to monomeric and dimeric spin systems for identifying quantum transitions between entangled phases by varying parameters such as the temperature or the orientation of an external applied magnetic field. The aim of this project is to identify suitable materials such as spin dimers of molecular nature and apply ESR spectroscopy to study quantum phase transitions in the high frequency (up to 1 THz) and high field (up to 16 T) regime.
- Investigation of spatial and temporal development of laser-induced plasmas
Laser ablation of matter is an essential process involved in the chemical analysis using various techniques of analytical chemistry. The spectroscopic investigation of characteristic plasma emission provides qualitative and quantitative information about the sample of interest. Standard analysis is based on the processing of emission signal; the process of laser ablation and consecutive development of laser-induced plasma is marginal and of little analytical interest. But, understanding the complexity of laser-matter interaction is a crucial step in the improvement of the latter data processing approaches. Thus, this work will target the investigation of spatial and temporal development of laser-induced plasmas, imaging of plasma plumes and determination of their thermodynamic properties. Outcomes of this work will be used in further advancement of the ablation of various materials (incl. biological tissues), improvement of optomechanical instrumentation (collection optics) and optimization of signal standardization.
- Kinetics of growth and phase transformations in self-assembled molecular systems
Self-assembly is a promising route to fabricate nanostructures with atomic precision. Targeted design of molecular precursors allows to program nanostructures with desired functional properties. To implement these structures into functional devices it is necessary to understand the kinetics of the grow as it defines the fabrication procedures. However, only little is known about kinetics of the growth/transformation processes near thermodynamic limit. The goal of Ph.D. study is to study the growth kinetics and phase transformation in self-assembled molecular systems and formulate suitable model describing the surface processes. The experimental research within the PhD study aims at the understanding the kinetics deposition/self-assembly phenomena of organic molecular compounds on metallic surfaces. Low-Energy Electron Microscopy presents an ideal technique for monitoring real time evolution of surface growth in both real and reciprocal space. These data will be complemented with chemical composition by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and atomic level structure by scanning tunneling microscopy available within the UHV system. (For detailed information, please, directly contact the Jan Čechal)
Tutor: Čechal Jan, doc. Ing., Ph.D.
- Laser spectroscopy for analysis of plastics
Plastic recycling and production is currently at its climax, current legislative is forcing faster processing of material while avoiding toxic metal content. Plastic industry is looking for solution in analytical chemistry, with high throughput and satisfactory analytical performance. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technique is being intensively applied in various industrial applications. Its robustness and instrumental simplicity drive its direct implementation into production processes and even to production lines. The goal of this thesis is design of LiBS instrumentation, methodological protocol for classification of individual plastic materials and detection of toxic metals using LIBS spectra.
- Laser spectroscopy in industrial applications
Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is getting established in various industrial applications. This method excels for its instrumental simplicity and robustness and is thus a potential alternative for existing techniques. When considering LIBS as an analytical tool, it is necessary to evaluate its analytical performance and the level of implementation into the existing production line. The topic of this thesis is the identification of individual industrial applications and the development and adaptation of analytical apparatus together with the optimization of measurement methodology from sample pretreatment to data processing.
- Long range ordered arrays of molecular quantum bits at surfaces
Single molecular magnets (SMM) are molecular entities bearing nonzero magnetic moment. In addition to the magnetic properties SMM provide one important attribute: they represent two-state system that can be in superposition state, i.e., SMM represent quantum bits (qubits). Recent developments pushed the coherence properties of individual magnets to the range required for competitive qubits. However, for any future application the molecular qubits should be processable as thin films. Moreover, the individual qubits should be mutually interacting. The goal of PhD study is to prepare long-range ordered arrays of molecular qubits on solid surfaces a possible basis for a molecular quantum registry. The experimental research within the PhD study aims at the understanding of deposition/self-assembly phenomena of organic compounds containing magnetic atoms on metallic and graphene surfaces. A special focus will be given to graphene surfaces that provide means to control their electronic properties (by intercalation or external gate voltage) and, hence, mutual interaction of individual spins. The spin coherence properties will be investigated by cooperating partners at CEITEC and University of Stuttgart. (For detailed information, please, directly contact the Jan Čechal)
Tutor: Čechal Jan, doc. Ing., Ph.D.
- Low damping magnetic (meta)materials with enhanced control over local magnetic properties
Magnonics is emerging as a promising technology for future information processing. The wave character and Joule heating-free propagation of spin waves promises highly efficient computing platforms based on integrated magnonic circuits. However, to realize these circuits we need low damping magnetic materials with tailored properties to achive maximum control over the spin wave propagation. The goal of this PhD project is to explore the possibilities of control of local magnetic properties (magnetic anisotropy, damping, saturation magnetization) in low damping magnetic materials prepared by advanced deposition techniques. We seek for PhD candidate capable of performing depositions under UHV condition, nanopatterning using focused ion beam and electron beam lithographies and analyzing the structural and magnetic properties of prepared (meta)materials.
Tutor: Urbánek Michal, Ing., Ph.D.
- Low power consumption sensing elements for monitoring gas/vapor biomarkers from exhabled breath
Sensor systems are evolving technologies with potential to contribute towards raising living standards and quality of life. In particular, gas sensors are important in numerous traditional applications in the industry, home safety and environment, but the modern scenarios for these devices also forecast their relevance in the Internet of Things and, specifically, less traditional areas as medical diagnosis. Against a host of competing enabling technologies for gas sensing, nanomaterial-based gas sensors are well positioned due to their potential to be miniaturized and integrated in portable electronic devices at relatively low costs. However, due to their intrinsic low selectivity, the use of multivariable sensor criteria (various integrated sensors) is projected for the future, and with this, the need of better use of electrical power to achieve autonomous systems. The aim of the thesis will be directed to energy saving in gas sensors, deepening further into the use of concepts based of self-heating of (1D) nanostructures and the investigation of optical gas sensing (a promising technology to save energy and take further the sensing at molecular level). The methodologies proposed involve micro/nano fabrication cleanroom processes and electronic/chemical/optical characterization techniques to identify the changes produced in the different developed elements during gas sensing. The specific tasks will be focus on: 1. Developing transducing platforms for self-heating and optical sensing using micro/nano fabrication cleanroom processes. 2. Testing the functional properties of the sensors upon gaseous biomarkers found in exhaled breath. The thesis proposal has a strong base on previous concepts implemented by the supervisor and her team, and it will include active collaboration with other research groups particularly at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona and the Unviersity of Barcelona (Spain). With this project, the student will acquire knowledge on micro/nano fabrication, gas sensors, nanostructured materials, and electrical/optical characterization techniques. Keywords gas sensors, micro/nano fabrication, 1D nanostructures, self-heating based sensors, optical sensing, low power consumption
Tutor: Vallejos Vargas Stella, Dr.
- Lowering the detection limits of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) technique via innovative approaches
Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) is a technique that utilizes high power-densities of a pulsed laser to generate a luminous micro-plasma from an analyte in the focal region. The micro-plasma emission is subsequently analysed by a spectrometer and its composition is related to the composition of investigated sample. However, the detection limits of LIBS analysis for individual elements is in the range of tens of ppm. There exist several alternative approaches that provide signal enhancement. The goal of this thesis is to design a methodology that will enable comparison of individual approaches and robust assessment of signal enhancement.
- Magnetic switchable systems based on metal complexes
Switchable systems based on metal complexes able to change magnetic properties are highly attractive for sensor applications, new electronic devices, or active smart surfaces usable in materials providing high-density data storage. For these applications, the magnetic activity of metal complexes can be utilized and furthermore, it can be modulated by modification of their coordination, redox, electronic and ligand field properties. Three ways to obtain such function are to vary the ligand field strength, switching the coordination chemistry or switching the degree of coupling between two spin metal ions in the case of polynuclear compounds. The aim of the project is to synthesize bi- or multistable metal complexes incorporating switch regulation site in order to perform controlled spin change. Our systems will be characterized by different physical techniques: high field and frequency EPR and NMR spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, SQUID and X-Ray crystallography.
- Magnitoelectric effect in room-temperature multiferroics
Multiferroics are perspective materials for microelectronics, spintronics and sensory technology. Multiferroics combines advanced properties of minimum two types of materials as: ferromagnetics, ferroelectrics and ferroelastics. The work will be dedicated to the analysis of the mechanism of the magnetoelectric effect. The dissertation is supposed to include determination of the effect of electrical polarization and mechanical stresses on the magnetic structure.
- Mapping plasmonic modes
Localized surface plasmons (LSP) generated in metal nanoparticles (plasmonic antennas) can exhibit various modes differing in energy, charge distribution (dipoles vs. multipoles) and radiation capability (bright and dark modes). One of the most effective methods enabling generation and characterization - mapping of these modes at the single antenna level is Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) provided by High-resolution Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (HR STEM). The PhD study will be aimed at application of HR STEM-EELS for mapping the modes of LSP in plasmonic antennas. The emphasis will be especially put at a study of hybridized modes of coupled antenna structures and/or strong coupling effects between modes in plasmonic antennas and excitations in their surrounding environments. These excitations will be polaritons in quantum nanodots localized nearby antennas (the visible range) and/or phonons in absorbing antenna substrate membranes (IR – mid IR). In the former case, the experiment will be carried out by HR STEM-EELS at CEITEC Nano infrastructure (Titan), in the latter case, by Nion Ultra STEM available at some laboratories abroad (e.g. Oak Ridge national laboratory).
- Material evaluation and characterisation by X-ray computed tomography
Image processing and computer vision are of fundamental importance to any field in which images must be enhanced, manipulated, and analysed. The image processing has a crucial role in remote sensing, medical imaging, industrial inspection, material science, and more. Topic includes image formation, image filtering theory, image enhancement, image reconstruction, image registration, and 3D visualisation. It is emphasised at computational techniques for implementing useful image processing and computer vision functions. The performed workflows will be adapted to the specific needs of material analysis using the newest techniques related to the X-ray computed tomography (such as phase retrieval, 3D reconstruction, integration of complementary information).
- Mechanical properties and fracture mechanisms of biodegradable materials for bone repair
Biodegradable materials for bone repair offer safer and less expensive treatment of bone fractures and defects. In addition to be biocompatible, bone implants should fulfil several mechanical requirements to be functional. During the Ph.D. project a comprehensive mechanical characterization of biodegradable materials suitable for bone repair will be performed. The aim is to adopt the mechanical behaviour of such materials in order to design the next generation of temporal implants. The methodology includes standard and novel static and dynamic mechanical tests, as well as ex vivo mechanical studies. Note: Highly motivated and collaborative candidates with outstanding track records and with the ambition to learn are welcome to submit the application.
- Mechanism of the small creep strains of the metallic materials at low stresses and transition to the plastic strain - model development and experimental study
Creep strains measured at very low applied stresses are, by their properties, very different from those measured at higher stresses during the conventional creep tests . The stress and strain dependencies of the creep rate are much weaker and the strain is mostly anelastic. Deformation mechanisms controlling these strains are not known, mainly because there are no observable signatures of the small strains in the microstructure. The small strain kinetics is clearly related to the internal stresses build-up. At present, only one simplified micromechanical model exists which is based on the dislocation segments bowing. This model combines the viscous glide and climb of dislocations , but its predictions are only relevant for very small strains, not explaining the transition to the normal plastic creep regime. The main topic of the thesis is the development of the complex dislocation model which will provide better insight into a nature of creep strains which accumulate at very low stresses. The model should also address the transition into the normal plastic creep regime. The solution will be based on the simplified model mentioned above and will include realistic description of the interactions between dislocations and solute atoms. Recently developed discrete dislocation dynamics method  will facilitate a statistical description of dislocation segments reaching a critical stress condition. Experimental study of the low-stress creep of the selected metallic materials will be important part of the work. The materials having exceptional creep behaviour observed during the conventional creep tests will be targeted. The Institute of Physics of materials AS CR [http://www.ipm.cz] , which is fully equipped with all the required facilities, will be the workplace .
Tutor: Kloc Luboš, RNDr., CSc.
- Method of perspiration rate measurement based on MEMS technology
The sweat perspiration rate is based on the measurement of the evaporation by differential measurement of humidity and temperature. This measurement is conditioned by sufficient distance between the measured points. In the case of a wearable device, its size must be very small, which significantly limits this condition. The research will focus on finding conditions, dependencies and shape of a MEMS-based measurement system to assure that the accuracy of the assay is as accurate as possible. The study of vapor-fluid systems and their modelling should result in the realization of the MEMS device.
- Micro and nanorobots based on photocatalytic materials for biomedical applications
Candidate will construct microrobots based on photocataysts for application in biomedical science using polymer and inorganic chemistry approach
- Micro and nanorobots for targeted drug delivery
Candidate will construct microrobots powered by chemicals for drug delivery and cancer treatment using polymer and inorganic chemistry approach.
- Micromachines and Nanomachines for environmental remediation
Candidate will construct microrobots powered by chemicals for environmental remediation using polymer and inorganic chemistry approach.
- Microscopy with geometric-phase optical elements
Geometric-phase optical elements are a new tool for complex light shaping and generation of special states of light. Unlike traditional refractive elements, the geometric-phase elements control the light using transformation of its polarization state. Thanks to technology of liquid crystals or principles of plasmonics, geometric-phase elements provide abrupt phase changes on physically thin substrates. Compact size and unique polarization properties make them ideal candidates for simply integrable spatial light modulators. The dissertation thesis topic is to find and verify the potential of geometric-phase elements in common-path digital holography and advanced optical microscopy.
- Modeling of functional properties of nanostructures for plasmonics
For detailed info please contact the supervisor.
- Monitoring of cell energy balance and mapping of cells’ internal temperature distribution
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno, in collaboration with Institute of Biotechnology (IBT), Prague, Czech Republic. The project focuses on a development of a method to seed cells inside a calorimeter with an internal volume of ≈ 100 fl under an objective lens of a high power optical microscope. A considerable part of the project involves development of special methodology to grow cells in a calorimeter. The method will then be applied to monitor cellular energetic balance with respect to cell life cycle, such as mitosis, induction of apoptosis etc. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC, with a minor involvement of the IBT; part of the project might be also carried out in P.R. China, based on current exchange program and mutual agreement, i.e. it is NOT mandatory.
- Nanometric prismatic dislocation loops in metals: experiment and modeling
Prismatic dislocation loops in metals are created by radiation damage or by severe plastic deformation. These loops are then obstacles for dislocations needed for plastic deformation and the material becomes brittle. The prismatic dislocation loops will be studied by molecular dynamic modeling and also by experiments using transmission electron microscopy.
Tutor: Fikar Jan, Mgr., Ph.D.
- Nanostructured arrays for electrochemical detection of biomarkers
The PhD candidate will model, design and fabricate an array of nanostructured electrodes made of Au, Ag or their amalgams to perform detection of cancer biomarkers. The work will start with literature study to determine the most suitable electrochemical method for biomarker determination. Then the PhD candidate will perform fundamental study of selected electrochemical detection techniques using standard electrode systems. In parallel he/she will also determine conditions for Au, Ag, AuHg, and AgHg electrochemical deposition forming nanostructured surface. After this surface characterization, such as surface area and composition. PhD candidate will design and fabricate a microfluidic system using micromachined array of nanostructured electrode and repeat the measurement described above, later on with an emulated clinical sample using metallothionein or other suitable cancer marker.
- Nanostructured gecko lizzard mimicking surfaces
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The project focuses on a development of a nanostructured materials for gecko mimicking surfaces. The key part of the work is to conduct finite element modelling (FEM) of the desired structure and to fabricate it primarily at CEITEC facility with collaboration with other places such as HKUST, Hong Kong, P.R. China. Next the surface of the structure has to be treated to get desirable surface properties by self-assembly monolayer and characterize it using force spectrum (force-distance measurement) by atomic force microscope. Creation of a system to demonstrate utilization of the adhesion force is highly desirable. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC. The candidate should be highly motivated, self-driven and passionate about science. Master degree in physics, mathematics or mechanical engineering is needed. Knowledge of basic instrumentation is essential. Good communication and interpersonal skills and fluency in spoken and written English are required.
- Nanostructured peptide based hydrogels for treatment of melanoma therapy
Peptide sequences that provide structural, mechanical, chemical, or biological function can be borrowed from nature and fused into synthetic poly(amino acid) chains without replicating the entire natural biomolecular sequence. Supramolecular self-assembly of such rationally designed peptide sequences is emerging as a promising route to novel biofunctional materials. Hydrogels made from peptide with strong anticancer activity in the form of hydrated films will be prepared for tests in melanoma cancer and for wound treatment after operation on skin surface. The hydrogel films will be checked and optimized in terms of their flexibility to adapt to surfaces, to adhere to surgical open surfaces, to maintain their integrity and to be easily removable by washing. Ex vivo adhesion studies will be performed on mouse. In vitro wound healing assays will be run in order to evaluate the effect of hydrogels on wound closure using melanoma and fibroblasts cell lines and testing the acceleration of closure of a wound artificially created in cell monolayers. The focus is on synthetic or biosynthetic poly(amino acid) hydrogels based on α-helical coiled-coils or β-sheets short peptides.
- Nanotransportes of potential drugs based on coordination compounds
Coordination compounds are very well known for their application in cancer therapy. As an example can serve cisplatin which is still used in medicine. Unfortunately, the cytostatics have a lot of side effects. To overcome them nanotransporters are applied, for example liposomes which can be further modified. The aim of the work will be preparation of such complexes and a study of their biological activity.
- Plasmon enhanced photoluminiscence
In this study plasmonic resonant nano-and micro-structures (particles, antennas, tips) will be used for enhancement of photoluminescence of nanostructures such as nanodots, nanowires and 2D materials (e.g. metal dichalcogenides: MoS2, WS2,....). In this way single photon sources provided by defects of these structures might be recognized.
Tutor: Dub Petr, prof. RNDr., CSc.
- Preparation of benzimidazoles and their complexes with lanthanides for theranostics
Benzimidazoles and their complexes with lanthanides will be prepared and characterized by physico-chemical methods. They will be studied for their potential to kill cancer cells. The selected bioactive compounds will be closed in liposomes of apoferritin for imaging and killing of cancer cells.
- Reduction of limitations of the tomographic reconstruction
Tomographic reconstruction is the key part of the Computed Tomography (CT) data acquisition procedure. It is a type of multidimensional inverse problem where the aim is to acquire an estimate of a specific system from a finite number of projection images acquired during CT measurement. Various methods have been developed to solve this problem, most of them based on inverse solution of the Radon transform. However, using such approach several conditions must be fulfilled to acquire correct reconstructed information. These are mainly related to CT measurement scenario in terms of acquired number of projection images, used measurement geometry or the dimensions of the sample. Aim of this thesis is to study limitations of the tomographic reconstruction and to develop practical solution for their reduction.
- Remote graphene doping
The possibility to tune the graphene transport properties, i.e., type and concentration of charge carriers makes graphene an attractive candidate for electronic devices, sensors, and detectors. In this context, various approaches for providing graphene with controlled doping were developed. The original approach – application of an external electric field provided by the voltage between the graphene and a gate electrode – was followed by deposition of atoms or molecules featuring as charge donors or acceptors in direct contact with graphene. Remote graphene doping based on charge trapping in gate dielectric by visible-, UV-, and X-ray radiation was only recently established. In parallel, the effect of electron beam (e-beam) irradiation on graphene devices was evaluated and the e-beam also entered the group of techniques capable of providing graphene with remote doping. The goal of PhD is to reveal the mechanism of electron beam induced graphene doping, assess the role of defects in dielectric layer and develop a theoretical model describing the kinetics of the process. Our current understanding suggests that the key mechanism here is a charging of defects in an oxide dielectric layer and a p-/n- doping is achieved depending on possibility of formation of electron-hole pairs in the dielectric layer by electron irradiation. We envision the utilization of the project outputs in adaptive electronics and fabrication of graphene devices, in general.
Tutor: Čechal Jan, doc. Ing., Ph.D.
- Research and development of multilayer systems for magnetoelectric effects
Research and development in processing and characterization of magneto-ionic and heterostructured multiferroics based on metal/oxide multilayers: (a) Ni/HfO2 for magneto-ionics and (b) Ni/BaTiO3 for artificial heterostructured multiferroic. The work will deal with optimization of magnetron sputtering conditions for dense Ni/HfO2 and Ni/BaTiO3 films; identification of thickness and geometrical effects on magneto-electric properties; structural and phase analysis of developed systems with the aim to achieve stable voltage-controlled effects for future magnetic devices.
- Rigorous simulation of electromagnetic wave propagation in inhomogeneous media
The topic is focused on development of numerical methods for rigorous simulation of electromagnetic wave propagation in arbitrary inhomogeneous media. Namely, we assume investigation of the techniques based on the expansion into plane waves and/or eigenmodes in combination with perturbation techniques. Developed techniques will applied to modeling of light scattering by selected biological samples. Requirements: - knowledge in fields of electrodynamics and optics corresponding to undergraduate courses - basic ability to write computer code, preferably in Matlab.
- Scanning probe microscopy based tomography
Scanning Probe Microscopy techniques (SPM) and particularly Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) are most common techniques for surface topography measurements. They have however still some limitations, for example its limited scanning range and lack of techniques for sub-surface mapping. Even if the interaction between probe and sample is already including information from sample volume, typically only surface topography or surface related physical properties are evaluated and the sub-surface information is lost. In most of the scanning regimes the amount of recorded and stored data is even so small that the information about sample volume is lost. On the other hand, there is lack of reliable subsurface mapping techniques with high resolution suitable for the growing field of nanotechnology, and methods of SPM tomography have large potential – and we can already see some first attempts for sub-surface mapping in the scientific literature. Aim of the proposed work is to develop techniques for mapping volume sample composition using SPM, particularly based on AC Scanning Thermal Microscopy and conductive Atomic Force Microscopy. This includes development of special reference samples, methodology and software development for control of a special, large area, SPM. In cooperation with the research group also a numerical modeling of probe-sample interaction will be performed and methods for sub-surface reconstruction will be tested.
Tutor: Klapetek Petr, Mgr., Ph.D.
- Smart surfaces
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. Goal of this work is to perform theoretical study and characterize a nanostructured material which changes color based on the environment. The PhD candidate will first perform finite element modelling (FEM) to determine the physics origin of the structure behavior and fit the model on the actual structure. Then the available structures will be further studies using techniques such as near-field optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The PhD candidate will try to replicate the structure at CEITEC cleanroom or at National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, USA. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC. Part of the project might be also carried out in P.R. China, based on current exchange program and mutual agreement, i.e. it is NOT mandatory.
- Spectroscopy of thin molecular films
Control over thin molecular films composed of single-molecule magnets or quantum bits is crucial in the development of novel electronic and magnetic devices. Their behaviour on surfaces is yet largely unexplored area. This PhD project will use the already existing high-vacuum chamber for thermal sublimation of thin films of coordination transition metal and lanthanide complexes. The student will work on the whole route from a bulk as-synthesised powder to a nanostructured thin film. The final goal is to be able to predict and evaluate the magnetic properties of such films by newly built high-frequency electron spin resonance spectrometer (HF-ESR). Additional surface-sensitive spectroscopic and microscopic methods such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) will be used to study prepared thin films. The student will communicate and perform tasks in international collaboration with research groups in the USA and Italy.
- Stability of plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coatings – The role of the bond coat roughness
The work aims at deeper understanding of stability of plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) as affected by the roughness of MCrAlY bond coat. Damage mechanisms and damage evolution in TBCs will be examined to identify the optimal topography of the bond coat in order to improve coating performance for components used in propulsion and power generation industries. Conventional MCrAlY + ZrO2-Y2O3 TBCs with the bond coat prepared by plasma spraying using feedstock powders with different size-distribution will be studied under high-temperature isothermal oxidation, thermal cycling, and room temperature mechanical loading.
Tutor: Slámečka Karel, Ing., Ph.D.
- Structural and magnetic properties of bismuth ferrite
Bismuth ferrite is characterized by presence of magnetoelectric effect. Interaction between magnetization and electrical polarization is defined by crystal lattice. The goal of this work will be obtaining of homogeneous antiferromagnetic structure by selecting parameters for samples preparation. Results of this field represent interest for design of memristors, sensor technologies, etc.
- Structural and Optical Characterization of Complex Oxide Heterostructures
Bandstructure engineering of semiconductor heterostructures enables optoelectronic devices with designed characteristics. The material parameters of conventional III-V semiconductors limit the wavelength range of such devices to infrared wavelengths. The scope of this thesis is to characterize and optimize oxide-heterostructures to apply established concepts like electro-optic modulation, non-linear wave-mixing or intersubband detection to shorter wavelengths in the visible or near-UV. Previous experience with measurement setups at CEITEC (SEM, TEM, AFM, XPS, ellipsometry) is of advantage. Applicants should be fluent in English and committed to self-motivated work in an international research group. Further relevant skills include utility programming for data analysis and lab automation (e.g. C++, Ruby, Python, Linux) as well as documentation and publication of results (LaTeX, etc.). The group of Dr. Hermann Detz focuses on novel materials for sensing applications in near- and mid-infrared sensing platforms. Particular emphasis is placed on the integration of novel plasmonic materials with established III-V optoelectronic devices. The group provides a multi-disciplinary, international environment. Scientific results are published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences.
Tutor: Detz Hermann, Dr.techn. Ing.
- Study of electrical and sensing properties of semiconducting nanowires
Nanowires are a 1D structure where a quantum phenomenon is applied across the structure, which can significantly affect electrical properties compared to macrostructures. Interaction of nanowire with the environment, whether with gas molecules or bounded particles, affects electron density from surface to bulk. Temperature dependence of conductivity due to thermal excitation and eventual emissions may also differ greatly from assumptions. Experimental study of semiconducting materials such as some oxides or metal nitrides will need to be compared with available models and draw conclusions about the phenomena that play a role in electrical behaviour of nanowires.
- Study of electronic properties of new 2D materials
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The goal of this work is to perform theoretical study, design, fabrication and characterization of 2D materials-based field effect transistor (FET) sensors made by an advanced planar technology and using modern 2D materials such as silicene, germanene etc. PhD candidate will identify the system signal noise ratio and limit of detection (LOD) of the biosubstances of interest using 2D FETs. He/she will also design and fabricate a simple microfluidic system to confine the tested sample at suitable location at the chip. PhD candidate will work together either with Regional Centre for Applied Molecular Oncology (RECAMO) or with a group at Mendel University. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC. The candidate should be highly motivated, self-driven and passionate about science. Master degree in either physics, mathematics, biology, analytical and physical chemistry is needed. Knowledge of MATLAB and basic skill of instrumentation is plus. Good communication and interpersonal skills and fluency in spoken and written English are required.
- Study of fluorescence impact on conductance in semiconducting nanostructures
The electron interaction of nanostructures with the environment is known and is described by several phenomena. An important phenomenon is the significant effect of nanostructure properties, where the density of energy is quantised. Photon excitation is also possible in case of semiconductors due to internal photoelectric effect. The effect of both phenomena can be observed on the change of the electrical conductivity of the material. When the nanostructure is covered with fluorescent material, both interactions occur unless the excitation occurs in the UV band. Fluorescence shifts the spectrum of excitation to the visible band, with changes in electron levels, which in turn directly affects the interaction with the nanomaterial on which the fluorescent material is bonded. The work will focus on the study of these interactions, their modelling and the practical measurement of the influence on the conductivity supplemented by testing in sensor applications.
- Study of individual cells using microfluidic systems
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The goal of this work is to study adhesion force between nanostructured surface and living cells using microfluidic systems. The student will set up a system of nanostructured pillars with desired surface properties. It is expected that the cells will attached to the top of the pillars and due to adhesion forces the cells will deform the pillars’ shapes. The student will capture a real-time video of the structure using either confocal or holographic microscope. The video will be processed by a script in MATLAB environment to create a real-time video of the adhesion force between the cell and the pillars. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC. The candidate should be highly motivated, self-driven and passionate about science. Master degree in either physics, mathematics, molecular or cell biology, analytical, physical chemistry, bioengineering or biology is needed. Knowledge of MATLAB and basic skill of instrumentation is plus. Good communication and interpersonal skills and fluency in spoken and written English are required.
- Study of thermodynamics of photosynthesis
There is a PhD scholarship for work on the project at the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) in Brno. The project is focused on thermodynamics of the photosynthesis of algae. The key part of the PhD work is design, manufacturing, test and evaluation a microfluidic calorimeter to measure photosynthesis taking place in algae. The PhD student will design a system for measuring changes in the calorimeter with an accuracy of 1 mK or less. He/she will be able to detect changes in the microcaloriemeter and thereby monitor photosynthesis to an accuracy of 1 pW or less. This work will be conducted in the CEITEC as well as in collaboration with the Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Trebon, and HKUST in Hong Kong, PRC. The candidate should be highly motivated person. A master's degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, or molecular biology or a field of bioengineering or biology is required. Good communication and interpersonal skills and knowledge of English are required.
- Synthesis and characterization of composite nanomaterials for bioapplications
The aim of this topic will be the synthesis and characterization of composites containing a carbon-based material in combination with various metal nanoparticles, chelating agents, molecules, chemicals rich in biogenic elements, or polymers. Some carbon-based nanomaterials have unique ability to adhere to different surfaces and operate as carriers. The composites have attracted increasing attention because of their unique properties emerging from the combination of organic and inorganic hybrid materials. By combining the attractive functionalities of both components, and the nanostructure of the particles, nanocomposites are expected to show new and improved properties. Prepared composites will be applied as wood or plant protectants.
- Synthesis and modification of magnetic particles for isolation and analysis of microbial pathogens
This work is aimed at inorganic synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles, its surface modification, characterization and testing in the area of an isolation of target molecules for subsequent chemical analysis. Produced particles will be chemically modified for selective isolation of nucleic acid from bacteria. The whole procedure of the isolation will be firstly tested using common laboratory approach and subsequently will be integrated in fluidic device. This device will be than tested for processing of samples of pathogenic bacterial strains.
- Synthesis of molecular switches functionalized by stable radical substituents
Popis tématu v ENG: Chemically and photo-induced molecular switches are highly attractive architectures for sensor applications or to perform new electronic devices or active smart surfaces at the room temperature. The aim of this project is to synthesize the series of molecular switches incorporating stable radical substituents and/or bistable metal complexes. Another important aim is the understanding and controlling of switching process. Our systems will be characterized by different physical techniques: high-frequency EPR and NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, SQUID and X-ray crystallography.
- System of digital polymerase chain reaction for prenatal diagnostics
A PhD fellowship is available to conduct a project in the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Brno. The project focuses on a development of a digital polymerase chain reaction system (dPCR). The key part of the work is to perform a theoretical analysis of the system, derive an algorithm and design the dPCR chip. Besides the theoretical part the PhD candidate will also setup and optical imaging system using CMOS (CCD) camera with fluorescent filter set and write an algorithm to perform the image processing using MATLAB environment. The PhD candidate will either fabricate new or uses currently available dPCR chips, runs the dPCR protocol and detect number of wells in the chip containing DNA. The student will also perform PCR multiplexing to detect more than one gene at the chip with an aim to identify DNA related to Down syndrome or similar. This work will be primarily conducted in CEITEC and partially also together with Carles University in Prague. The candidate should be highly motivated, self-driven and passionate about science. Master degree in either physics, mathematics, mechanical engineering or molecular biology is needed. Knowledge of MATLAB environment is essential. Good communication and interpersonal skills and fluency in spoken and written English are required.
- Thermal and Environmental Barrier Coatings for Advanced Turbine Engine Applications
The project concerns the development of advanced ceramic thermal and environmental barrier coatings (TEBCs) for applications in future high-performance gas turbine engines to protect engine hot-section components in the harsh combustion environments and extend component lifetimes. The design of new barrier coating systems will be performed in order to reach their improved temperature capability, environmental stability, and long-term fatigue-environment system durability in comparison with the existing counterparts. The methodology includes preparation of the barrier coatings by different thermal spray technologies and their testing using high pressure burner rig and furnace cyclic oxidation rig with the following overall microstructural analysis to evaluate the coating thermal stability, cyclic durability, and erosion resistance under simulated engine environments. Highly-motivated and collaborating applicants with the ambition to learn are welcome to enroll.
Tutor: Tkachenko Serhii, Ph.D.
- THz Frequency Rapid Scan Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) is a phenomenon, that can enhance greatly the NMR sensitivity (several hundred times at least). There are several mechanisms of DNP, though all of them result from the transferring of electron spin polarization (from special polarizing agents) to nucleus. This process is strongly dependent on the electron spin relaxation of the polarizing agent. However, due to the instrument limitations, the spin dynamics of polarizing agents is studied very poorly at frequencies above 100 GHz, especially at frequencies of 263, 329 and 394 GHz, which correspond to NMR proton frequencies of 400, 500 and 600 MHz, respectively. Usually, the spin relaxation properties are studied using the pulsed method. Unfortunately, the nowadays level of microwave sources at THz frequencies, mostly in terms of output power, does not allow the implementation of the pulsed technique in the wide frequency range. For this reason, the Rapid Scan Electron Spin Resonance (RS-EPR) spectroscopy is the only possible technique for the investigation of spin dynamics at THz frequencies. In this project, PhD student will (i) develop and implement a technique of fast frequency sweeps into the high field/high frequency EPR spectrometer (ii) investigate the spin relaxation processes in different DNP polarizing agents in the wide frequency and temperature ranges.
- Time and space resolved dynamics of metamagnetic nanostructures
The aim of the Ph.D. thesis is to obtain a profound understanding as well as active control of the dynamics of the phase transformation in materials featuring a first-order phase transition between antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic states. This class of materials exhibits a metamagnetic behaviour in which the transition can be driven by several types of excitations, such as temperature, magnetic field, strain or laser pulses. The prototype material to perform this study will be the FeRh alloy. Recent studies suggest that its incorporation into meso- and nanoscale devices can result into emergent phenomena and new routes to stabilize and control the antiferromagnetic or the ferromagnetic state. The Ph.D. candidate will investigate the dynamics of the phase transition in patterned films driven by ultrafast current and laser pulses. The project will involve extending the existing scanning magnetooptical Kerr microscope to a pump-probe set-up and combining it with electrical transport measurements. Further steps will lead towards all-optical control of the magnetization in the ferromagnetic phase.
Tutor: Uhlíř Vojtěch, Ing., Ph.D.
- Topological insulators studied by LEIS
The Low Energy Ion Scattering (LEIS) has proved its capability to study composition of the solid state surfaces. The extreme surface sensitivity of the technique is widely used in analysis of the elemental composition of a topmost atomic layer. The topological insulators are materials where the thin surface layer is conductive in two directions parallel to the surface plane while the bulk material remains insulating. These materials are very promising in the field of spintronics and quantum computation. Thus the surface termination plays the critical role in the definition of the topological insulator properties and can be effectively studied using LEIS in combination with selected analytical and imaging techniques (XPS, SIMS, SEM, AFM and STM). The state of art LEIS spectrometer (Qtac100, ION-TOF GmbH) is part of the complex UHV apparatus for deposition of thin films and modification of solid state surface at micro and nanotechnology laboratory of CEITEC BUT.
- Transport Properties of 2D Materials
The work will be devoted to a study of transport properties of 2D materials (graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides,….) modified by various layers of adsorbants. Emphasis will be put on in situ-measurements of these properties under well defined UHV conditions and consequently to their utilization in sensing and other applications.
- Tunable metasurfaces
Metasurfaces represent a new kind of promising nanophotonic devices providing new functionalities at their radical miniaturization. Thus, they are perspective for outperforming classical optical elements and devices. They consist of subwavelength nanoelements, either metallic or dielectric, which contribute to forming their overall optical properties by scattering-induced phase modification. PhD study will be aimed at exploring a new class of metasurfaces enabling tunability of their optical properties. This can be provided by application of nanoelements materials undergoing phase transformations, and/or by piezoelements. Metasurfaces will be fabricated by electron beam lithography and their functional properties characterized by holographic methods enabling wide-field quantitative phase imaging of fields shaped by them.
- Tuneable magnetic materials with a first-order magnetic phase transition
Magnetic materials constitute highly tunable material systems that have been associated with a wide range of new scientific discoveries. Coupled order parameters in complex phase-transition materials can be controlled using various driving forces such as temperature, magnetic and electric field, strain, spin-polarized currents and optical pulses. Tuning the material properties to achieve efficient transitions would enable fast and low-power electronic devices and novel functionality at nanometer length scales. The Ph.D. candidate will explore the first-order magnetic phase transition in materials that have been subjected to strong spatial confinement and design new functional systems by assembling individual structures with well controlled properties into 2D and 3D arrays forming magnetic materials with tuneable properties. The Ph.D. candidate will be involved in the deposition of materials, advanced characterization, and lithography of nanostructures. Magnetic imaging (scanning Kerr microscopy, magnetic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with polarization analysis, x-ray and photoemission electron microscopy), structural imaging (low energy electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction), and magnetometry will be employed to tackle the project objectives.
Tutor: Uhlíř Vojtěch, Ing., Ph.D.
- Utilization of plasmonic nanostructures for local enhancement of magnetic components of electromagnetic fields
The study will be aimed at design, fabrication, and characterization of resonant plasmonic nano- and micro-structures (“diabolo” antennas, split ring resonators, etc.) providing a significant local enhancement of magnetic components of electromagnetic fields. The structures with resonant properties particularly in the IR and THz will be studied, with respect to their potential applications in relevant spectroscopic methods.
- Utilization of surface analytical methods for the study of nanostructures
For detailed info please contact the supervisor.
Tutor: Dub Petr, prof. RNDr., CSc.
- X-ray computed tomography in dimensional metrology
Non-destructive imaging method of X-ray computed tomography (CT) is very suitable for dimensional metrology. Through the development of standards it is also becoming accepted as a metrology tool. In comparison with conventional tactile and/or optical coordinate measuring machines (CMM), the CT advantage is analysis of outer and inner features of the sample. CT provides high information density and samples of any surface, shape or material can be measured (up to limit of density and thickness penetrable by X-rays). However CT measurement uncertainties caused by tomography artifacts or multimaterial samples still occur and reduce the measurement accuracy. The aim of this work is to develop practical solutions for CT measurement and the subsequent comparison of the proposed measument procedures with conventional methods of dimensinal metrology.
- X-ray computed tomography of mineralised and soft tissues of biological samples
X-ray micro computed tomography is becoming one of the commonly used imaging methods in the fields of developmental biology and other biological disciplines. In the native sample only the mineralised bones are visible in the microCT scan, the visualization of the soft tissues requires the staining of the sample in the solutions of elements with high proton number. When the scans of the same sample in native and stained condition is combined the time-consuming process of segmenting the mineralised bones from the stained dataset can be skipped, this new approach enables much faster method of analysing the complex biological samples. In the scope of this work the optimising of the staining method of soft tissues and co-registration of both stained and native scans of same sample will be performed.
- 2D materials for electrocatalysis and hydrogen generation as clean energy source
This thesis will focus on the fabrication of new 2D materials for electrocatalysis and water splitting to hydrogen as clean energy source. Hydrogen is being used as clean energy source for smart city electromobility.
- 2D materials for supercapacitors
Supercapacitors (SCs) represent one of the most promising energy storage technologies because of their remarkable features, such as ultrahigh power density and ultralong cycling life. This PhD study aims at an exploration of 2D hybrids based on MXenes and black phosphorous (BP), as high-performance electrode materials for SCs. It will concentrate on (i) multi-scale characterization of 2D hybrids up to atomic resolution to provide fundamental knowledge underlying the interaction between the components of 2D hybrids, and on (ii) an in situ study of chemical stability and growth mechanisms of these materials. In the study, state-of-the-art characterisation methods available at CEITEC Nano core facility such as Low Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM), UHV STM/AFM, X-ray Photo-electron Spectroscopy (XPS), Low Energy Ion Scattering (LEIS), Scanning Auger Microscopy (SAM), FT-IR Spectroscopy, and HR (S)TEM will be used. The collaboration with the Dresden University of Technology planned to synthesize the 2D materials will be held.
- 2D materials for water treatment
This thesis will focus on the fabrication of new 2D materials for water treatment and purification.
- 3D epitaxial printing of semiconductors using electron tweezers
The dissertation thesis will deal with the development of 3D epitaxial printing using eutectic liquid droplets, which are moved by electron beam (electron tweezers) in the UHV-SEM microscope, developed in cooperation with TESCAN. During the movement, the gold-containing droplet is saturated with germanium (silicon) atoms, resulting in epitaxial deposition of the semiconductor at the droplet location. The movement of the droplet and thus also the "print" location of the semiconductor can be controlled programmatically. Part of the work will be optimization of this process including its real-time monitoring using UHV-SEM microscope.
- 3D printing for electrochemical energy storage
This thesis will focus on the research and development of new 3D printed materials for fabrication of supercapacitors.
- 3D printing for electrochemical sensors and biosensors for environmental protection
This thesis will focus on the research and development of new 3D materials for electrochemical sensing and biosensing of important environmental pollutants.