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PhD position: Organic coupling reactions photocatalytically-driven by semiconductor nanocrystals

100%, Zurich, temporary

We are looking for candidates with a strong background in organic chemistry. The project aims at the photocatalysis of a broad range of coupling reactions by a novel type of inorganic colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals. Discovered five years ago in our group, these nanocrystals exhibit a combination of properties that makes them highly promising for photocatalysis.

The position is open in the Functional Inorganic Materials Group (KovalenkoLab, ETH Zurich). The research activities in FIMG are focused on challenges related to the chemistry, physics, and applications of inorganic materials ranging from nanostructures to powders, thin films, and single crystals. Central to our efforts is the synthesis of new materials and their integration or self-assembly into multifunctional solid-state structures. Synthetic work and thorough materials characterization are the cornerstones of our research.

Job description

This project will attempt to drive a series of challenging organic coupling reactions by photocatalysis with colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, such as those made of lead halide perovskites. We will study the mechanism of these reactions in the presence of a photocatalyst and realize the optimal composition and surface chemistry of the photocatalyst.

The research activities will involve:

  • Photocatalytic transformations of organic molecules triggered by various semiconductor nanocrystals under light
  • Investigation of the mechanism of these transformations by common (NMR, MS, TLC, etc.) and new single-photon photoluminescence technique implemented in our lab
  • Characterization and modification of the surface chemistry of nanocrystals

The preferred start is as soon as possible.

Your profile

  • Candidates should have recently obtained a master degree in chemistry with outstanding grades
  • Excellent knowledge of organic chemistry
  • Strong experimental background in chemistry
  • Experience in catalysis will be beneficial

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • 2-3 names of referees (with email addresses) that can be contacted for reference letters. Recommendation letters will also be accepted.
  • Academic transcripts of B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees

Applications should be either submitted through our online portal or sent to Dr. Dmitry Dirin ( and Prof. Maksym Kovalenko (

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