PhD Position Available at the Free University of Brussels (VUB).

Project: Novel Graphene/Graphite based Nanocomposites.

1 PhD Position Available.

In the frame of our research concerning the application of carbon systems for the development of novel nanocomposite systems, 1 PhD position (2+2 years) is available from February 2011. In particular, the development of graphene/graphite-based nanocomposites will be analysed through a multidimensional theoretical analysis, combining molecular dynamics, semi-empirical and ab initio calculations.

Project Description:

In recent years, carbon systems-based nanocomposites have gained important interest for applications in e.g. electronics, aeronautic, car and aerospace industry. In order to achieve conductive properties for these nanocomposites, a percolating network must be formed by a conducting nanofiller. This requires a good dispersion of the filler, which is often a problem due to their strong self-interaction. Hence, specialised dispersion techniques are often necessary for the preparation of these nanocomposites, depending on the polymer matrix used. In this project, the interaction between graphene/graphite and a range of polymer matrices will be theoretically analysed in order to determine their possible application for nanocomposite synthesis. This will require the use of a range of computational techniques such as finite system analysis and periodic boundary conditions at different levels of theory (semi-empirical, ab initio, …). These studies will be performed in a multidisciplinary approach, working in close collaboration with experimental research groups in order to validate the theoretical results and predict possible application of given nanocomposite systems.


Research Group of General Chemistry (ALGC):

Research will be conducted at the Research Group of General Chemistry of the Free University of Brussels/Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB —

Our research activities are mainly situated in the fundamental and applied aspects of conceptual DFT, applied aspects of conceptual DFT, in which the study of chemical reactivity occupies a central position. This work can be divided into three main parts: (1) Development and/or implementation of reactivity indices, (2) Use and study of reactivity indices within the framework of principles, such as Hard and Soft Acids and Bases principle, the principle of maximum hardness or the principle of electronegativity equalization, (3) use of concepts and principles in application in organic and inorganic chemistry, catalysis, biochemistry and nanotechnology. In the frame of this latter part, research has been conducted on the application and properties of carbon systems such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, and more recently graphene and graphite. In particular, their application for the production of novel nanocomposites has been studied in close collaboration with experimental research.


PhD position (2+2 years):

Applicants must have a diploma giving access to doctoral studies.

Preferred education profile: MSc in theoretical, physical, organic or polymer chemistry.



Prior knowledge of carbon-based nanocomposites is recommended, and excellent oral and written knowledge of English is required. Applicants should send an e-mail with their motivation letter, an extended CV and the scientific publication list, together with the contact details of 2 scientists we can contact for recommendation to before February 25th 2011. The contract can start at the earliest convenience.


Contact person:

Dr. Gregory Van Lier

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Research Group General Chemistry (ALGC)

Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussel, Belgium.

8 February 2011