Three PhD students in microfluidics and radioisotopes

Research / Academic

Medical radioisotopes are of paramount importance in diagnosing and treating various diseases. For this reason, a continuous, reliable and sufficient supply of such radioisotopes is required. Currently, the purification of radioisotopes consists of long, multi-step processes that contribute to a significant loss of product by natural decay.

Our innovative approach is to develop a microfluidic chip, based on liquid-liquid extraction, that significantly speeds up the purification step. Microfluidic liquid-liquid extraction has been investigated extensively for various chemical applications, but the application to a radioactive environment and to components specific to radioisotope production pose new challenges. First, radiation impacts the microfluidic chip materials and the chemical compounds required by the extraction step. Second, the transport of species, the related (radio)chemistry and the dynamical behaviour of the interface between both liquids in such a microfluidic system are not known yet. Third, it is unknown how to integrate such a system in a cyclotron or nuclear reactor.

We are looking for three candidate PhD-students who will investigate and develop such an innovative system. These PhD students will work in their own discipline and will act as a team at the same time, because all those disciplines are required to develop this technology.

PhD 1: A theoretical and numerical study to optimize isotope purification on microfluidic chips and the coupling to online irradiations facilities. Keywords: micro fluid dynamics, physical transport phenomena, liquid-liquid extraction, radiation transport (neutrons, gammas, …), numerical methods for fluid mechanics and radiation (Monte-Carlo)

PhD 2: An experimental investigation to novel surface modifications and fabrication processes of microfluidic chips that are resistant to high radiation levels. Keywords: microchip fabrication, atomic layer deposition, microfluidic liquid-liquid extraction studies, micro fluid dynamics, transport phenomena, image analysis

PhD 3: Experimental study to develop chemical purification methods for medical radioisotopes in microfluidic chips and integrate the developed setup in a cyclotron. Keywords: radiometals, microfluidic liquid-liquid extraction,  nuclear chemistry, inorganic and coordination chemistry, cyclotron production

This project is funded by NWO TTW and supported by NRG, URENCO, TRIUMF and UMCG.


We are looking for enthusiastic PhD students who

  • have an MSc in a relevant field, such as chem. engineering, mech. engineering, (applied) physics, phys. chemistry, inorganic or coordination chemistry, materials science, fluid mechanics, nuclear chemistry;
  • combine creativity with a sound academic attitude;
  • have - depending of the position - excellent experimental, modelling, and/or simulation skills;
  • have excellent communication skills in English, both in writing and speaking;
  • are good team-players and able to work in a collaborative environment with the other two PhD students and supporting organisations.

Salary Benefits:

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information

Work Hours:

36 - 38 hours per week


Mekelweg 15