Veronika Kovzel
Phone: +49 351 260 3231

More Information


For any questions, do not hesitate to ask:
Dr. Nina Maria Huittinen Tel.: +49 351 260 2148,
Dr. Christoph Hennig Tel.: +33 476 88 2005

Place of work:

Working hours:
19,5 h/week

4 December 2020

Online application
English / German
Job-Id: 145/2020 (1066)

The HZDR is committed to equal opportunity employment and we strongly encourage applications from qualified female candidates. We also carefully consider all applications from job candidates with severe disabilities.

Bautzner Landstraße 400
01328 Dresden

PhD Student (m/f/d) Synthesis and characterization of solid phases for actinide immobilization

As member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, the HZDR employs about 1,400 people. The Center's focus is on interdisciplinary research in the areas energy, health and matter.

Research and development at the Institute of Resource Ecology (IRE) comprises the assessment and reduction of risks related to the nuclear fuel cycle, particularly the disposal of nuclear waste, and the production of energy in nuclear power plants.

This Ph.D. position is part of a joint national project (“AcE”) involving five partners from research centers and universities in Dresden, Jülich, Frankfurt, and Aachen. The project deals with fundamental investigations of immobilization of actinides in crystalline solid phases of importance in final disposal strategies of high-level waste streams. Complementary experimental and computational methods probing both the bulk structure of the matrix material and the local environment of incorporated actinides will be combined to understand the incorporation behavior of actinides and their surrogates in lanthanide orthophosphate monazites (LnPO4) and Zr(IV) bearing solids such as zircon (ZrSiO4), zirconia (ZrO2), and pyrochlore (Ln2Zr2O7). An important aspect for the immobilization of especially the actinide elements is the radiation resistance of the solid structure. Thus, an additional focus of the project is to elucidate the behavior of these An-doped solid phases after irradiation, such as their long-term stability, dissolution behavior, mechanical stability, and the total potential to incorporate An in the matrix.

PhD Student (m/f/d) Synthesis and characterization of solid phases for actinide immobilization

The position will be available from 01.02.2021. The employment contract is limited to 3 years.


  • synthesis of Zr(IV)-bearing solids phases, mainly ZrO2 and ZrSiO4 but also selected Ln2Zr2O7 pyrochlore phases doped with tetravalent actinides (Th, U, Pu, Np) and inactive analogs (mainly Ce). This includes optimization of existing synthesis strategies, but also the development of new synthesis methods.

  • characterization of the synthetic solid phases with various bulk methods (diffraction, Raman, microscopy) and spectroscopic methods capable of addressing the actinide environment in the solid phases such as luminescence spectroscopy (TRLFS), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and nuclear magnetic resonance/electron spin resonance (NMR-/EPR) spectroscopy.

  • preparation of research papers for leading journals and dissemination of project results at project meetings of the joint project and at conferences/workshops.


  • a very good degree (diploma or master) in chemistry or a comparable natural or engineering science.
  • prior knowledge in the field of spectroscopy/diffraction and/or materials chemistry and characterization.
  • preparedness to handle open radioactive materials.
  • capacity for interdisciplinary research including willingness for research stays at partner institutions.
  • good communication skills (written and oral) in English.
  • the ability to communicate and work in a scientific environment and willingness to participate in scientific conferences, workshops, and project meetings.

We offer:

  • A vibrant research community in an open, diverse, and international work environment
  • Scientific excellence and extensive professional networking opportunities
  • Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement TvöD-Bund
  • 30 Vacation Days per year
  • Company pension scheme (VBL)
  • A good work/life balance for which we offer assistance in the form of:
    • possibility to work part-time

    • flexible working hours

    • in-house health management

Kindly submit your completed application (including cover letter, CV, diplomas/transcripts, etc.) only via our Online-application-system.