Postdoc position in the field of critical metal recovery by functionalized adsorbent materials

KU Leuven
October 03 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The research activities will be carried out within the framework of the Get-A-Met project ( Get-A-Met is a strategic basic research (SBO) project funded by SIM-Flanders, and is in collaboration with the Ghent University and the VITO research institution. The aim of Get-A-Met is to implement an integrated proof-of-concept for the selective recovery of critical raw materials (CRM), more specifically metals and metalloids contained in industrial wastewaters. KU Leuven's work consists of developing carbon-based particles with unique surface and core properties and investigate their performance for CRM uptake. The selectivity of activated carbon for particular metal ions is increased by covalently binding chelating groups on the surface of the adsorbent. In addition, it is explored how the selectivity can be enhanced by the innovative principle of ion imprinting, making use of a template metal ion. KU Leuven ( ) is the largest university in Belgium. KU Leuven boasts a rich tradition of education and research that dates back six centuries. The university's basic research orientation has always been and will remain fundamental research. KU Leuven conducts fundamental and applied research in all academic disciplines with a clear international orientation. In the Times Higher Education ranking KU Leuven is ranked as the 17th European university, while in the Reuters Top 100 of the World's most innovative institutions, KU Leuven is listed as the first European university. This project is part of the project portfolio of the SIM² KU Leuven platform (SIM² = Sustainable Inorganic Materials Management). SIM² KU Leuven is the consortium of research groups at KU Leuven working on Sustainable Inorganic Materials Management ( SIM² is addressing the European and global demand for more innovation and research on resource recovery and recycling, targeting End-of-Life (critical) metal containing products, metal containing liquid waste streams and industrial residues, and landfilled material streams. The research activities will be carried out in the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry (Head: Prof. Koen Binnemans), as part of an interdisciplinary team of almost 40 researchers.

You will synthesize new functionalized activated carbon materials and characterize them by different techniques including CHN analysis, FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, solid-state NMR (1H, 13C), N2 physisorption (specific surface area and total pore volume), and SEM (surface morphology). The functionalized adsorbent materials will be used for adsorption studies of metal ions from aqueous solutions (cobalt, rare earths). Different adsorption parameters will be evaluated. The analysis of the metal concentrations in the aqueous samples is done by total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) and ICP-OES.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess