Catalyst Characterization Scientist

The Chemical Science department is part of Corporate Technology and Innovation (T&I) organization, with two locations in Saudi Arabia and USA. Our team provides catalyst development, applied product chemistry, process chemistry, and analytical characterization expertise to support T&I programs across Strategic Business Units. Within the Chemical Science department, the Surface Science and Advanced Characterization (SSAC) laboratories are well equipped with an extensive array of modern analytical techniques in the area of advanced imaging, vibrational/X-ray spectroscopies, textural analysis, and chemisorption.

We are looking for a highly skilled professional with demonstrated expertise with in-sitE studies of catalysts using vibrational spectroscopies coupled to mass spectrometry and/or gas chromatography. His/her extensive knowledge and experience of sorption techniques and temperature-programmed oxidation/reduction/desorption techniques will be a major asset to his success in this position. SABIC focus areas relevant for this position include mainly catalyst development, but also punctually high performance polymeric materials for automotive, battery and food contact applications. This job is located at a Company Technology Center (STC-K) in the research park of King Abdullah University of Science in Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia.

The Role

As an expert in the field of vibrational spectroscopy and experimental kinetic studies to gas/solid heterogeneous catalysis, you will lead and support research programs by providing detailed structural characterizations that offer crucial insights into the interactions between catalyst surfaces and chemicals, and the underlying reaction mechanisms. One of your primary goals will be to implement state-of-the-art characterization setups, bringing the Adsorption Equilibrium Infrared Spectroscopy method (AEIR) and Steady-State Isotopic Transient Kinetic Analysis coupled to DRIFT spectroscopy (DRIFT-SSITKA) to fruition. The second goal is to design and conduct experiments using TPO/TPR/TPD techniques to analyze surface properties, adsorption/desorption kinetics, and reaction mechanisms of various catalysts.

Additionally, you will develop external links with research institutes and universities to enhance our internal knowledge and capabilities in these key focus areas. Your role will be critical in advancing our understanding of catalytic processes, leading to improved product performance and competitiveness.

The equipment within the scope of this position includes IR/Raman spectrometers equipped with various in-situ cell configurations (cryogenic to high temperature, atmospheric to high pressure) and a gas distribution system that allows pulsing of gases and rapid changes in gas composition while monitoring reactants and products’ evolution by mass spectrometry and/or gas chromatography. The laboratory is also equipment with two commercial TPD apparatus and a custom-made setup.

Job Purpose & Responsibilities:

• Independently plan and execute in situ spectroscopy, TPR/TPO/TPD, and kinetic studies, including design of experiments, instrument operation, and interpretation of data.

• Develop into a recognized expert in the field of spectroscopies and kinetic studies applied to heterogeneous catalysts. Contribute expertise to R&D programs and the company in general. Translate the knowledge and cross-train colleagues as required.

• Interface with R&D project teams regarding characterization project planning and scoping. Effectively communicate results through presentations and reports, and publish when appropriate.

• Develop relationships and projects that utilize the analytical capabilities of the Surface Science and Advanced Characterization group. Lead and facilitate external partnerships and services to extend existing analytical capabilities

• Provide full, complete and accurate documentation of all work as required by SOPs and Company policies and procedures.

• Keep lab equipment operating by following operating instructions, troubleshooting breakdowns, and performing preventive maintenance and repairs.

• Demonstrate a commitment to safety. Perform all work activities in a safe and timely manner. Proactively identify safety related items and initiate appropriate actions. Participate in safety audits and safety meetings.

Minimum Education/Experience Requirements:

• PhD degree in Physics, Chemistry, Surface Science, Materials Sciences, or a closely related field.

• At least 6 years of hands-on experience with spectroscopies, sorption experiments and gas analysis in a heterogeneous catalysis laboratory in an academic or industrial setting.

• Technical skills: operation of Raman/FTIR spectrometers coupled to in-situ cells; operation of mass spectrometers and gas chromatographs, operation of thermodesorption setup.

• Data analysis: Fundamentals of IR and Raman spectroscopy, adsorption modeling, chemometrics (PCA/MCR-ALS). Appreciated: Python programming with relevant statistical/ML tools to evaluate the results and inferences.

• Demonstrated expertise via conference presentations and publications (internal/external).

• The drive to develop and apply experience in new method development, maintenance, and troubleshooting of analytical equipment on a daily basis.

• Knowledge/understanding of petrochemicals and catalysts is preferred.

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