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PhD topics for academic year 2021/2022

Analytical and Physical Chemistry

Study Programme:

Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Interpretation of Raman optical activity of nucleic acids

Bouř Petr, prof. RNDr. CSc. ( b...@uochb.cas.cz)
Hopmann Kathrin Helen, Assoc. Prof. Ph.D. ( kat...@uit.no)
Spectroscopy of vibrational Raman optical activity is a new and dynamically evolving analytical method providing important information, such as about biopolymer and enzyme structure. The applications are very dependent on spectral interpretations based on the molecular dynamics and quantum chemical computational methods. For nucleic acids, although experimentally very interesting systems can be approached, including viruses, the relation between the spectrum and the structure is not completely known. A big problem are computer demands required by these complex and big molecules. We will therefore focus on development of experimental and computational methodology for model system, suitable to describe specific nucleic acid properties, such as flexibility and polarity. Modern computational methods will be both used and developed, such as combination of classical and quantum mechanics or testing models of solvent and environment during molecular interactions.
UIT The Arctic University of Norway
Faculty of Chemical Engineering

New effective separation membranes for water and wastewater treatment based on hybrid carbon-based materials

Friess Karel, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( fri...@vscht.cz)
Current membrane separation processes allow efficient purification and physical disinfection of water from undesirable components on the basis of a size-sieving mechanism without the need for chemical agents. The pore sizes and their distribution on the membrane surface is an important factor for the effective removal of contaminants and microorganisms. The thesis will study the possibilities of using newly prepared membrane materials based on carbon materials (carbon nanotubes, graphene derivatives, etc.) with targeted surface modifications (eg doping with antimicrobial agents, etc.) in order to effectively remove collected contaminants from water. In addition to the preparation, characterization and testing of materials, the work will also include modelling of the separation process. The result of this work will be, besides the preparation of an effective separation material and describing the model, an extension of knowledge in the given membrane field.
KU Leuven, Belgium
Faculty of Chemical Engineering

New effective separation membranes for water and wastewater treatment based on hybrid carbon-based materials

Friess Karel, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( fri...@vscht.cz)
Current membrane separation processes allow efficient purification and physical disinfection of water from undesirable components on the basis of a size-sieving mechanism without the need for chemical agents. The pore sizes and their distribution on the membrane surface is an important factor for the effective removal of contaminants and microorganisms. The thesis will study the possibilities of using newly prepared membrane materials based on carbon materials (carbon nanotubes, graphene derivatives, etc.) with targeted surface modifications (eg doping with antimicrobial agents, etc.) in order to effectively remove collected contaminants from water. In addition to the preparation, characterization and testing of materials, the work will also include modelling of the separation process. The result of this work will be, besides the preparation of an effective separation material and describing the model, an extension of knowledge in the given membrane field.
KU Leuven, Belgium

Chemical and Process Engineering

Study Programme:

Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Polymer-based membranes for highly selective removal of CO2 from biogas

Kočí Petr, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( pet...@vscht.cz)
Vankelecom Ivo, prof. ( ivo...@kuleuven.be)
Membrane-based gas separation technology has contributed significantly to the development of energy-efficient systems for natural gas purification. Also CO2 removal from biogas, with CO2 contents exceeding 40% has more recently known rapid growth and development. Major challenge of polymer membranes for gas separation is related to their susceptibility to plasticization at high CO2 partial pressures. CO2 excessively swells the polymer and eases the permeation of CH4, thus reducing the selectivity. Membrane crosslinking is one of the best ways to prevent the plasticization. Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs), consisting of fillers homogeneously dispersed in a polymeric matrix aim at combining the processibility of polymers and the superior separation properties of the porous fillers. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are such materials which have attracted considerable attention due to their tailorable functionality, well-defined pore size, pore tunability and breathing effects. MMMs for biogas upgrading will be prepared with increased permeabilities by choosing proper MOF/polymer combinations and modifying the thermal treatment, employing core-shell MOF materials with high bulk porosity and a selective shell layer.


KU Leuven, Belgium
Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Polymer-based membranes for highly selective removal of CO2 from biogas

Kočí Petr, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( pet...@vscht.cz)
Vankelecom Ivo, prof. ( ivo...@kuleuven.be)
Membrane-based gas separation technology has contributed significantly to the development of energy-efficient systems for natural gas purification. Also CO2 removal from biogas, with CO2 contents exceeding 40% has more recently known rapid growth and development. Major challenge of polymer membranes for gas separation is related to their susceptibility to plasticization at high CO2 partial pressures. CO2 excessively swells the polymer and eases the permeation of CH4, thus reducing the selectivity. Membrane crosslinking is one of the best ways to prevent the plasticization. Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs), consisting of fillers homogeneously dispersed in a polymeric matrix aim at combining the processibility of polymers and the superior separation properties of the porous fillers. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are such materials which have attracted considerable attention due to their tailorable functionality, well-defined pore size, pore tunability and breathing effects. MMMs for biogas upgrading will be prepared with increased permeabilities by choosing proper MOF/polymer combinations and modifying the thermal treatment, employing core-shell MOF materials with high bulk porosity and a selective shell layer.


KU Leuven, Belgium

Analytical and Physical Chemistry

Study Programme:

Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Removal of heavy metal ions from water using carbon and graphene oxide precursors

Friess Karel, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( fri...@vscht.cz)
The presence of heavy metal ions in water is a serious problem for human health and the environment. The ability to efficiently and easily remove unwanted cations from water by adsorption without the need for the use of non-organic agents poses a global challenge to scientists in the art. There will be studied the possibility of using newly prepared adsorption materials based on carbon materials (doped and modified graphene derivatives). Besides preparation, characterization and testing of material properties and adsorbent efficiency for effective removal of contaminants from water, the work will also include development of methodology for post-process separation of adsorbent from purified water. The result of the work will be in addition to the preparation of effective adsorption material and the extension of knowledge in the given material and process field.
KU Leuven, Belgium

Chemical and Process Engineering

Study Programme:

Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Solvent and pH stable membranes with ultra-sharp molecular weight cut-off values

Kočí Petr, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( pet...@vscht.cz)
Vankelecom Ivo, prof. ( ivo...@kuleuven.be)
Membrane-based separations currently offer the best strategy to decrease energy requirements and environmental footprint through newly developed solvent resistant nanofiltration (SRNF) or solvent-tolerant nanofiltration (STNF). So-called solvent activation of polymeric membranes involves treatment of an existing membrane by contacting it with solvents or solvent mixtures, which is hypothesized to restructure the membrane polymer through solvatation, increase polymer chain flexibility and organization into suitable structures. This will be verified by systematically treating membranes with different solvents and testing them for the separation of synthetic liquid streams. A high-throughput set-up will be used. Fundamental physico-chemical characterisations of the membranes before and after the treatments will provide insight in the changes at molecular level. The characterization techniques include gas and liquid uptake experiments (diffusivity), PALS (positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy, to determine free volume element distributions), ERD (elastic recoil scattering, providing elemental analysis in membrane depth profiles), solid state NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), TGA (thermogravimetric analysis) and DSC (differential scanning calorimetry).


KU Leuven, Belgium
Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Solvent and pH stable membranes with ultra-sharp molecular weight cut-off values

Kočí Petr, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( pet...@vscht.cz)
Vankelecom Ivo, prof. ( ivo...@kuleuven.be)
Membrane-based separations currently offer the best strategy to decrease energy requirements and environmental footprint through newly developed solvent resistant nanofiltration (SRNF) or solvent-tolerant nanofiltration (STNF). So-called solvent activation of polymeric membranes involves treatment of an existing membrane by contacting it with solvents or solvent mixtures, which is hypothesized to restructure the membrane polymer through solvatation, increase polymer chain flexibility and organization into suitable structures. This will be verified by systematically treating membranes with different solvents and testing them for the separation of synthetic liquid streams. A high-throughput set-up will be used. Fundamental physico-chemical characterisations of the membranes before and after the treatments will provide insight in the changes at molecular level. The characterization techniques include gas and liquid uptake experiments (diffusivity), PALS (positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy, to determine free volume element distributions), ERD (elastic recoil scattering, providing elemental analysis in membrane depth profiles), solid state NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), TGA (thermogravimetric analysis) and DSC (differential scanning calorimetry).


KU Leuven, Belgium

Analytical and Physical Chemistry

Study Programme:

Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Solvent and pH stable membranes with ultra-sharp molecular weight cut-off values for nanofiltration and pervaporation

Friess Karel, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( fri...@vscht.cz)
Current membrane separation processes allow efficient purification of polar or non-polar solvents from undesirable components on the basis of a size-sieving (pressure-driven methods) or chemical affinity (solution-diffusion mechanism). The thesis will focus on testing of robust, pH stable membrane materials with targeted separation properties for specific membrane operations. In addition to the preparation, characterization, and testing of materials, the work will also include modelling of the separation process. The result of this work will be, besides the preparation of an effective separation material and describing the model, an extension of knowledge in the given membrane field.
KU Leuven, Belgium
Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Supramolecular assemblies and gels from helicene-polypeptide conjugates: synthesis and chiroptical properties

Setnička Vladimír, prof. Ing. Ph.D. ( set...@vscht.cz)
Crassous Jeanne, dr ( jea...@univ-rennes1.fr)
This work will be focused on the preparation and characterization of new supramolecular systems based on helicene-polypeptide conjugates. The polypeptide moiety will be systematically modified to produce highly ordered supramolecular aggregates stabilized by hydrogen and other interactions. Common methods of structural analysis including highly sensitive methods of chiroptical spectroscopy (electronic circular dichroism ECD, vibrational circular dichroism VCD and Raman optical activity ROA) will be used for the characterization.
École nationale supérieure de chimie de Rennes, France
Faculty of Chemical Engineering

Tailoring of nanostructure in mixed matrix membranes for selective removal of CO2 from biogas

Friess Karel, doc. Ing. Ph.D. ( fri...@vscht.cz)
Membrane separation processes belong to modern technologically important separation methods, which are less demanding (economically and ecologically) in comparison with classical separation methods. For the gas separation applications, mainly polymer membranes are used. Their performance (permeability or separation effect) can be additionally adjusted by the targeted embedding of liquid or solid additives into the polymer matrix. The dissertation thesis will focus on the preparation, characterization, and testing of the so-called mixed matrix membranes for the separation of gases based on glassy polymers and functional nano-additives with a purposefully prepared structure. In addition, modeling of the separation process will be part of the work. The result of this work will be prepared and tested membrane material for the effective removal of CO2 from biogas and extension of knowledge in the given membrane field.
KU Leuven, Belgium
Updated: 29.11.2019 12:30, Author: Jan Kříž

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