Open Positions

Graduate Student – Portland State University, Portland, Oregon

MSc / PhD candidate position in crystallography / applied physics

The Nanocrystallography Group at the Department of Physics of Portland State University is seeking candidates (m/f) for MSc and PhD projects in the field of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) based nanocrystallography. The graduate student projects focus on aspects of the development of novel nanocrystal characterization methods. These methods will utilize a combination of high-resolution phase contrast imaging in TEM and goniometry of direct lattice vectors.

The Nanocrystallography group is a user of Portland State University’s electron microscopy center. Occasional travel to and work at the National Center for Electron Microscopy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is anticipated to access some of the most advanced TEM instrumentation in the country. Summer research at the Technical University Chemnitz, Germany, may also become part of some projects.

The ideal candidate has a diploma or BSc in crystallography, mineralogy, materials science and engineering, physics, or chemistry, and is interested in both geometricalstructural crystallography and transmission electron microscopy. Computer- and experimental skills are essential for the success of the projects. While some projects will require more experimental skills, some other projects will require more computer skills (notably JScript, Java, C++, Perl, PHP).

What we look for in a graduate student is an open mind, initiative, diligence and some experimental skills. Sure, not everybody will “crank out” a great discovery such as Carangeot (read the quote from a paper by him below) – but without such skills, he would probably not have completed graduate school.

The author, a novice in crystallography, but very desirous of education in it by a profound study …, was working at cleaving and modeling in clay life-size crystals … Despairing after many tentative unfruitful attempts of not being able to render exactly a very bizarre form of rock crystal, he though of cutting tentatively, out of cardboard, the angle that two of the faces formed with each other. When this angle had been cut, he was surprised to find the same angle on the two opposite faces, and so successively on the other faces of the same crystal. When the experiment was repeated on all rock crystals he had at hand, he recognized with satisfaction that the angles were constant, and produced namely, 104º for the junction of the bases with each pyramid, and consequently 76º at their summit; 142º for the incidence of the faces of the pyramid on those of the prism; and 120º for each of the six angles of the prism, the form peculiar to that type of crystal. He hastened to announce the results of this experiment to M. de l’Isle. This savant, sensing its usefulness, had him repeat it, and recognized with the greatest pleasure that it took place constantly on the crystals of various mineral substances.

A. Carangeot, Goniomètre, ou mésure-angle, Journal de Physique XXII (1783) 193.

PSU is with an estimated enrollment of about 30,000 students Oregon’s largest and only urban university. It is located in downtown Portland/Oregon, i.e. the metropolis of the so called silicon forest. Since high tech industries blend in with abundant natural beauty in this region and because of its moderate climate, Portland has consistently been ranked in the top ten of Americas most livable cities.

Applications (CV, list of referees, reasons for coming to the US for applicants from abroad, list of publications if applicable, etc.) should be sent to:

Prof. Peter Moeck
Department of Physics
Portland State University 
P.O. Box 751 
Portland, Oregon 97207-0751