PhD Positions

PhD 4: Development of a high-pressure high temperature microfluidic chip for water-flooding oil recovery with integrated sensing capabilities

Job Description

At the University of Twente (the Netherlands) within the MESA+ institute for nanotechnology a research program will start early 2018, aimed at understanding physico-chemical aspects of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) using low-salinity water-flooding in Carbonate reservoirs. The research will be done in consultation with an industrial partner, and involves 5 temporary researchers in Twente.

The goal of this PhD project is to develop a lab-on-a-chip device capable of performing the analogue of a large scale core flooding experiment on a single microfluidic chip. The chip shall include various active elements and sensors to control thermodynamic conditions and to detect the composition of the fluid. Similar to its use in the pharmaceutical industry such a device shall provide the opportunity for fast screening of a wide parameter range for rapid identification of promising EOR strategies, such as optimized fluid compositions. The results should be useful as input for subsequent in-depth analysis in more elaborate tests such as core flooding experiments. The approach will be two-fold. First, the PhD candidate will develop simple devices to support the synthesis of artificial carbonates in collaboration with another PhD within this program and for the characterization of model surfaces using optical microscopy and confocal Raman microscopy. These devices will be fabricated using soft lithography. The second phase is devoted to the development of the ultimate water flooding-on-a-chip device including the integration of packed beds of synthetic carbonates as well as miniature natural rock cores. This device will be fabricated using state-of-the-art microfabrication procedures using glass or silicon and/or additional hard materials to allow for high pressures and temperatures.

Your Profile

For this position we are searching for ambitious candidates with an MSc or MEng degree in (physical) chemistry or (experimental) physics. Knowledge on microfluidic phenomena and devices, ellipsometry, adsorption phenomena and/or wetting will be an advantage. Considering the strongly collaborative nature of the project within the program, we are looking for a team player with good communication skills. Further information can be found on our website: or obtained by contacting Prof. Frieder Mugele (f.mugele @ or Prof. Han Gardeniers (j.g.e.gardeniers @  


Applications are welcome before December 10, 2017 and should include a specific motivation letter reflecting on the goal and challenges of the advertised project in relation to the interests and skills of the candidate as well as a detailed CV.

More information about the project