NWO-CW, the chemistry section of the Dutch Science Foundation, announced that 28 out of 116 research proposal were granted this year within its NWO-ECHO program. One of the successful ones was the proposal entitled “Stability of confined water layers in hydrophobic nanochannels” of the PCF group. This project aims at a better understanding of the so-called hydrophobic effect. This term summarizes a range of peculiar nano-scale phenomena displayed by water in the vicinity of hydrophobic entities. These phenomena include the solvation of hydrophobic molecules, long-range attractive forces between macroscopic surfaces, the self-assembly of micelles and lipid membranes, the stability of surface nanobubbles, and – most notably – the folding of proteins and the transport of water and ions through membranes, i.e. in some of the most central processes in living organisms.
The specific goal of the granted PhD project is to study the phase behavior of water layers confined in hydrophobized nanochannels, which will be manufactured in the MESA+ clean room. The focus will lie in particular on the evaporation of water layers as a function of external pressure and temperature as well as electric fields.
(Further information for interested candidates for the PhD position can be obtained from Prof. Frieder Mugele (firstname.lastname@example.org).)