PhD topic of project A3: Development of macroporous polymeric adsorber materials


PhD topic of project A3: Development of macroporous polymeric adsorber materials for P removal from wastewater

This PhD project aims to develop polymeric adsorber materials based on molecularly imprinted polymers that selectively remove phosphate from wastewater and allow the release of the bound phosphate in a subsequent step for recovery. The polymers will be synthesized from functionalized monomers designed to interact with phosphate anions, appropriate crosslinkers, a template to create cavities in the polymer matrix for phosphate incorporation, and a porogen to ensure mass transport in the final materials. The type of monomers, their ratio and the polymerization conditions will be systematically varied to optimize the performance of the products. The obtained materials will be characterized in terms of composition and morphology. In addition, batch and flow experiments will be performed to quantify the phosphate adsorption capacity and to identify suitable conditions for phosphate adsorption and desorption, as well as for polymer recycling. Finally, the materials will be tested in a pilot wastewater treatment plant to evaluate the feasibility of the developed process.

The most important scientific questions of this PhD will be:

-  Can polymeric adsorber materials based on molecularly imprinted polymers be obtained with sufficiently high phosphate selectivity and adsorption capacity to enable P removal from wastewater down to low residual concentrations? 
-  How can the bound phosphate be desorbed from the polymers and recovered?
-  Can the materials and process be scaled up for use in a wastewater treatment plant?

Requirements for applicants:

-  Excellent Master's degree (M.Sc.) in chemistry or equivalent
-  Experience in synthetic organic chemistry and in common analytical (NMR, UV-Vis, IR) and purification techniques (chromatography). Experience in polymer chemistry and in the standard techniques of polymer characterization is welcome but not required.
-  Fluency in English and willingness to learn German (for non-German speakers)


You can send your application for this PhD topic to Prof. Dr. Stefan Kubik: stefan.kubik[at]  

Please send by 15.03.2024 complete application documents:

-  Letter of motivation that prioritizes one or two of the PhD topics of WERA 
-  Curriculum Vitae
-  Copy of your degree certificate (Bachelor, Master or equivalent) with full academic transcripts

directly to the supervisors of PhD topics ( „apply-button“ ). 

You can contact the spokesperson Prof. Sergiy Antonyuk ( for general questions about PhD Graduate School.


About RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau: 

The RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau (RPTU) is the technical university of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate with over 20,000 students, more than 300 professors and around 160 degree programmes. As a place of top-level international research, it offers excellent working conditions and career opportunities. Those who study, research or work at RPTU experience a welcoming and globally-oriented environment and shape the future.

The PhD Graduate School GRK 2908 is supported financially by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with funds from the German states and the federal government of Germany.

RPTU - Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau

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Deadline: 2024-03-15
Location: Germany, Kaiserslautern, Landau
Categories: analytical chemistry, analytical skills, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, molecular chemistry, Molecular science, Organic Chemistry, PhD,


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