The Adsorption and Catalysis group mainly focuses on designing, characterizing, and applying nanostructured and nanoporous materials for adsorption and catalysis. Bulanek`s group primarily works in the field of zeolites and zeotype materials for the capture, storage, and separation of gases and their mixtures (such as hydrocarbons, hydrogen, CO2, etc.) and heterogeneous catalysis (especially selective oxidation and (oxidative) dehydrogenation of hydrocarbons and alcohols).  For more information see group pages (https://fcht.upce.cz/en/fcht/news-0) or LinkedIn page (https://www.linkedin.com/in/roman-bul%C3%A1nek-91769a2a8/)

Project: Encapsulated metal NPs in microporous solids

Metal nanoparticles have great catalytic potential but suffer from deactivation at high temperatures due to sintering and agglomeration. Encapsulation of metal nanoparticles in porous structures is a promising way to stabilize them against sintering in the harsh conditions of the catalytic reaction. The main goal of this doctorate is the design and characterization of catalysts based on metal nanoparticles (NPs) encapsulated in a porous matrix for the hydrogenation of CO2, conversion of light alkanes to olefins, and dehydrogenation of alcohols. In case of success, this constitutes a significant step toward the more sustainable production of fine chemicals. The PhD thesis will be performed as a part of the Czech Science Foundation research project in collaboration with several groups in the Czech Republic and abroad (Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry Czech Academy of Sciences, Charles University in Prague, CAU Kiel). Frequent project meetings, as well as academic exchange and intense collaboration, will be beneficial for the successful candidate.

The project’s main goal is to deepen the understanding of the effect of encapsulation on the properties of NPs located inside pores and cavities of nanoporous matrices. A fundamental understanding of the role of size and shape of nanoparticles, which is imposed on them by the void space geometry of zeolite micropores, is crucial for further improving the catalytic performance of Metal@zeolite catalysts. More specifically, the following objectives should be reached:

  • Finding a facile synthesis approach to prepare metal NPs inside the zeolitic channels and cavities
  • Complex characterization of the metal NPs, their localization, structure, and electronic properties
  • Determination of catalytic properties in the reactions mentioned above
  • In-depth analysis of the relationship between structure and activity and a detailed understanding of each step of the catalytic cycle

To reach these objectives, the successful candidate will have all possible support from the group leader (Roman Bulánek), post-docs, and fellow PhD students. The strong expertise in zeolite chemistry and solid-state characterization in the group will allow for facile synthesis of the desired catalysts. Standard characterization techniques (XRD, N2-physisorption, SEM, FTIR, Raman, UV-vis, and luminescence …) are available within the group for fast progress of the project. A strong network is available for more advanced techniques, such as XPS, ESR, or TEM/EELS, allowing facile access to these techniques. Reactions can be performed in small laboratory reactor units that allow experiments to be performed under specific conditions. Completing a Ph.D. thesis typically takes four years, which sets the timeframe for this project.

Requirements: The successful candidate should have a Master’s degree in chemistry focusing on physical chemistry, synthetic inorganic chemistry, or spectroscopy. Experience working with spectroscopy (FT-IR, Luminescence, Raman, …), textural and structural properties determination (XRD, physical adsorption, SEM/EDX) is an advantage.

The successful candidate should be highly motivated, eager to seek and share knowledge, able to work independently in a dynamic group environment, and confident in written and spoken English. The applicant should strive towards scientific excellence and be ambitious, with intrinsic motivation, self-sufficiency, initiative, and creativity.

We offer:

  • study in a well-established research group on attractive scientific topics
  • above-standard scholarship
  • living in a quiet, medium-sized city with a relatively low cost of living
  • continuous support and mentoring from the supervisor
  • possibility of further education in various workshops or mentoring activities, training to best prepare you for a career in academia or industry and develop your professional skills
  • rewarding and challenging job in an international environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom
  • work on the latest issues that impact our society
  • flexible working time allowing work-life balance
  • work in an inspiring environment that invites you to conduct high-quality research
  • excellent conditions to shape your career in a meaningful way and take it to the next level
  • you will benefit from excellent training in catalysis to further expand your portfolio


The call is open until February 29th, 2024, and all essential information about the conditions of study and the necessary documents required for the application can be found on the pages of the Physical Chemistry study program (https://studuj.upce.cz/en/physical-chemistry-3). If interested, contact the supervisor and Guarantor of the study program, prof. Ing. Roman Bulánek, Ph.D. (e-mail: roman.bulanek@upce.cz). We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g., age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation/identity, and social, religious, and ethnic origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities is essential to us/our university.