Due to the current situation (COVID-19) access to the laboratories, and in fact the entire David de Wied & Vening Meinesz buildings, is strictly limited until further notice.
We can therefore only accept a limited number of new MSc or BSc projects; applications are handled on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please make sure to fill in and submit your request via the online form linked to here.
UPDATE January 29, 2021:
Unfortunately, at the moment, our group can no longer accept additional requests for BSc and MSc projects for periods 3 and 4 2021. The reason is that we have restricted lab access due to the COVID-19 measures and we have no more capacity for additional projects.
However, the calls below are open if they contain parts that do not require immediate lab access or if they can start in period 1 2021. Please contact the supervisors directly for more information about the options.
Supervisor(s): Erik Maris
Title: Machine Learning for Single-Molecule Microscopy
Diffusion of molecules through nanoporous materials is often the limiting factor in their application in catalysis and separation. The molecular motion is usually heterogeneous and complex, due to strong interactions between the diffusing molecules and nanoporous material . Single-molecule localization microscopy allows us to study these interactions via the trajectories of individual molecules . Due to diffraction of light, the individual molecules appear as bright spots on the camera, which are much larger than the actual size of the molecules. To find their location with nanometer precision, we fit the center of the spot in an analysis step called “localization”. This is easy when the molecules have a fixed position; however, when the molecules move, the spot on the camera is blurred and the fit is poor. Machine learning, and particularly neural networks, have proven to be a great tool to localize molecules efficiently . In this project, you will train neural networks to localize molecules with motion blur and benchmark its performance against established techniques.
 Hendriks, F.C., et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 13632–13635 (2017)
 Manzo, C., et al. Rep. Prog. Phys. 78, 124601 (2015)
 Möckl, L., et al. Biomed. Opt. Express 11, 1633–1661 (2020)
Supervisor(s): Rafael Mayorga González, Yadolah Ganjkhanlou
Title: Mapping heterogeneity within catalyst particles using carbon quantum dots
Carbon dots (CQDs) are new organic luminescent compounds that were accidentally discovered by Xu et al. in 2004 . CQDs have been vastly investigated as a local sensor for different applications due to the sensitivity of their luminescence to different parameters (e.g., thier solvent, temperature, the presence of specific metals, and/or the pH of their environment). For instance, they have been applied as chemosensors of different metal ions in solvents  and as intracellular pH detectors in biological systems . The goal of the proposed project is to develop a simple method based on CQDs in order to get a submicron 3D map of specific properties within catalyst particles. To perform this project, the student will synthesize CQDs, stain different solid materials with varying properties (e.g., zeolites with different Si/Al ratios and porosities) with the prepared CQDs, and image the stained solid samples with a confocal fluorescence microscope. The obtained images will be used to correlates acidity (or other properties) with emission spectra of CQDs. The student will have opportunities to learn about the synthesis of CQDs, using the confocal microscope, and processing the obtained images. He or she will also become familiar with a few other advanced characterization techniques of catalyst materials.
 Liu, Y., Duan, W., Song, W., Liu, J., Ren, C., Wu, J., … & Chen, H. Red emission B, N, S-co-doped carbon dots for colorimetric and fluorescent dual mode detection of Fe3+ ions in complex biological fluids and living cells. ACS applied materials & interfaces 2017 9(14), 12663-12672.
 Ye, X., Xiang, Y., Wang, Q., Li, Z., & Liu, Z. A Red Emissive Two‐Photon Fluorescence Probe Based on Carbon Dots for Intracellular pH Detection. Small 2019 15(48), 1901673.
Description: The synthesis of b-oriented ZSM-5 zeolite membranes has garnered considerable attention from research in recent years. The combination of catalytically active ZSM-5 zeolites with the separation functionality of membranes opens up a path to promising applications in catalytic membrane reactors. Furthermore, the specifically controlled orientation means that only the straight channels of the ZSM-5 structure are accessible, enhancing diffusion properties.
Previous work in our group demonstrated the development of such membranes consisting of a ZSM-5 film grown from silicalite-1 seeded porous ceramic supports through the secondary growth method.  However, these membranes suffer from delamination during the secondary growth step. Recent work has shown delamination can be largely avoided when synthesis is carried out in neutral fluoride containing growth media. Unfortunately, the b-orientation of the ZSM-5 layer is not retained. In this project the student’s objectives are twofold: to design a synthesis protocol that will retain the orientation of the ZSM-5 layer as well as to research the influence of several additives to the growth medium on the growth of the ZSM-5 film. In this ambitious synthesis project, the student will have to opportunity to learn about zeolite synthesis and zeolite membrane fabrication as well as work with analysis techniques such as SEM, XRD, AFM and XPS. If time allows, the obtained membranes can be tested for separation and permeation ability.
 D. Fu et al., “Uniformly Oriented Zeolite ZSM-5 Membranes with Tunable Wettability on a Porous Ceramic,” Angew. Chemie – Int. Ed., 2018, doi: 10.1002/anie.201806361.
Description: Most catalytic reactions are structure sensitive, which means that the surface atoms of a supported metal catalyst differ in activity. The specific activity of surface atoms depends on their atomic arrangement which depends on nanoparticle shape and size. To study these effects very monodisperse nanoparticles of several sizes are required, which are currently not available for nickel. Therefore the main goal of this project is to develop a size-tunable synthesis procedure for small, monodisperse colloidal Ni nanoparticles. In this synthesis-oriented project, the student will to synthesize and characterize small, monodisperse colloidal nickel particles. To stabilize the particles various phenyl-based ligands will be tested, which will allow tuning particle size and shape. These efforts will be on the border between inorganic and organometallic/coordination chemistry. The synthesized particles will then be deposited on a support, and will be tested as catalysts for various reactions, for example CO2 hydrogenation, making use of operando spectroscopy such as FT-IR. The student will also have the creative freedom to extend this project, for example to bimetallic nanoparticles. The student will learn how to do inert synthesis using a Schlenk line and glovebox, and become proficient in TEM, XRD and operando spectroscopy such as FT-IR.