Internship | Optical study and design of photothermal nanoparticle in catalytic methanation reaction

Sunlight driven sustainable methanation process using nano-particle (NP) catalyst is a solution to reduce CO2. NPs are efficient light absorbers and varying the size and load affects the chemical reaction. We will explore the optics of those NPs.



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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What will you be doing?

Driven by the global aspiration to achieve a CO2-neutral society, the conversion of CO2 to higher energy species such as methane (CH4) has recently grown into a significant research field. To achieve a sustainable methanation process, the sunlight driven nanoparticle enabled photocatalysis reaction has shown promising results. Nanoparticle (NP) catalyst is an important ingredient: it is an efficient light absorber and varying its size and load directly affects the chemical reaction rate. In this project, we will study the photothermal effect of such NPs and quantify various contributing factors.

Conventionally, the methanation process is performed in dark and catalysed by supported metal catalysts (e.g. Ni, Ru, Rh) and requires thermal activation at temperatures between 300°C and 500°C. Instead of heat, sunlight would be an appealing alternative. Particles of nano-size are good absorber of light and transfer the absorbed energy into heat. The photothermal effect is a complex multi-physical problem. In this project, we will orderly model the optical and the induced heat transfer phenomena. The light and NPs interaction, including scattering and absorption will be studied for varying composition of the NPs complex. The NPs have strong resonance at certain wavelengths, which is known as Plasmon resonance. The powerful catalyst NPs usually display a weak plasmon resonance, whereas the strong plasmonic metals are weak catalyst. Special attention will be paid to the plasmonic effect on the photothermal efficiency. Furthermore, the collective photothermal effect through coupling between NPs will be studied. The results of the this project will contribute to shed light on the mechanism of the photocatalytic reaction and to promote energy sustainability.

What do we require of you?

  • Master level study on physics;
  • Knowledge on optics preferably;
  • Experience in computation tool and language such as, Matlab / Python

What can you expect of your work situation?

TNO is an independent research organisation whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organisations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people we develop knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. We work for a variety of customers: governments, companies, service providers and non-governmental organisations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes. In everything we do, impact is the key. Our product and process innovations and recommendations are only worth something if our customers can use them to boost their competitiveness. 

You will work with a multidisciplinary team of Optics (website: and Chemistry (website: 

What can TNO offer you?

You want to work on the precursor of your career; an internship gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your internship and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable internship compensation.

Has this vacancy sparked your interest?

Then please feel free to apply on this vacancy! For further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact: Man Xu
Phone number: +31 (0)6-818 99423

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now



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