PhD Position in Materials Physics

Trondheim, Norway
11 Oct 2019
End of advertisement period
01 Nov 2019
Academic Discipline
Physical Sciences, Physics & Astronomy
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

A PhD position is available at the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology. The position is financed by the project SumAl (Solute cluster manipulation for optimized properties in Al-Mg-Si based Al alloys) which is a competence project supported by the Norwegian Research council and several aluminium companies.

Information about the SumAl project

Continued weight reductions remain a key to the development of a sustainable and greener transportation sector. Market growth and increased profitability of lightweight Al-solutions can be expected by further improving product properties. Precipitation hardening is the most important strategy for the Al industry to improve performance of both AA6xxx wrought alloys and foundry alloys. However, the Al industry is still unable to fully control and manipulate nucleation and growth of hardening precipitates. SumAl will through a combination of experiments and modelling, develop fundamental understanding of early stage clustering and ordering of solute atoms in aluminium and how these structures relate to the development of hardening precipitates and materials properties. A successful outcome of SumAl will give Norwegian Al actors a cutting-edge tool to develop and design innovative Al-based products with a competitive and superior balance of properties. The overall ambition of SumAl is to establish the necessary competence enabling Al industry to control and manipulate nucleation and development of nanoscale precipitates in Al-Mg-Si alloys through alloy design and thermomechanical processing. The primary objective of SumAl is to establish an in-depth understanding of early stage solute ordering and atomic clustering and how these structures relate to the development of hardening precipitates and materials properties. The project involves recruitment of 1 post-doctoral fellow and 2 PhD students in complementary research areas.

Further information can be obtained from professor Randi Holmestad, Department of Physics, NTNU, Tel. +47 735 93880, E-mail:

Qualification requirements

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in physics or equivalent education with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

Candidates from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a Diploma Supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grade system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree:

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

The position requires spoken and written fluency in the English language. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries outside Europe must document English skills by an approved test.  Approved tests are TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Personal characteristics

  • The applicant must have an MSc (or equivalent) in physics, materials science or a closely related field. We are seeking a person with a good experimental background and experience in materials characterization. Applicants with prior experience in electron microscopy, and TEM in particular, will be strongly preferred. Knowledge and practical experience with the relevant data handling and analysis, as well as experience with relevant sample preparation techniques for electron microscopy are also desirable.
  • The successful candidate should be creative, with a strong ability to work problem oriented. He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams. Female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Candidates with a PhD degree will not be considered for the position.
  • In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

Main duties and responsibilities

This PhD position is within the field of experimental materials physics and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The PhD will focus on the early stages of precipitate dynamics in aluminum alloys, formation and growth, using TEM methods and advanced data processing. Part of the work will be to correlate these studies with atom probe tomography (APT) which is done by others in the same project. TEM techniques used will among others be high resolution scanning TEM (STEM), STEM tomography, also exploring new and smart acquisition methods. Clusters will be studied ex- and in-situ during heat treatment. The influence of chemical composition and thermomechanical treatments (heating and deformation) will be quantitatively studied. Data processing and image analysis of the experimental data and correlations with APT, will be performed, for instance using the Python package Hyperspy ( We want to develop this software further, improving workflows and incorporate more machine learning algorithms for studies of precipitates in aluminium alloys. The results will be used to validate and guide the modelling activities in the SumAl project.

Detailed information on our PhD programs is found at:

The PhD will be performed in close cooperation with another PhD and postdoc, SINTEF and industry. In addition, it will be desirable with a longer stay abroad for the candidate to work with foreign collaborators.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years years with the possibility of until 1year extension with 25% teaching duties in agreement with the department.  

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criterias in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Information about the department

The department is currently in an expansion phase and incorporates a broad activity within physics with activities in solid state physic/material physics, soft/complex and biopolymer physics, medical physics, statistical physics, optics, atmospheric physics, university didactics and astroparticle physics. The department is also since 2017 the hosting institution of two national centers of excellence. Porelab and QuSpin. The department is responsible for the best recruiting physics study programmes in Norway both within applied and fundamental physics. It also provides a large set of courses within physics for other study programmes at NTNU.

For more information about the department and its activities, see

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Please refer to the application number 2019/33898 when applying.

Application deadline: 01.11.2019

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Faculty of Natural Sciences is a key player in national and international research and education programmes in natural sciences and technology. Our research focuses on global challenges in the areas of energy, climate, the environment, food, water, health and welfare. The Faculty consists of eight departments as well as the Faculty Administration.

Deadline 1st November 2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Trondheim

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