Technische Universität Wien
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Master Thesis Real Time Stabilization of Nanoscale Chemical Imaging

Nanoscale Chemical Imaging using AFM and MIR

The combination of mid infrared (MIR) absorption spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM) enables us to determine distributions of molecules at nanometer spatial resolution. This AFM-IR approach enables us to image and analyze organelles inside cells and microorganisms, to determine the secondary structure of indvidual proteins, phases of polymers,composition and defects in energy materials (organic inorganic perovskites, metal-organic frameworks,...) and among many others. (See the following publication for a recent example

The AFM-IR approach yields a signal that is proportional to MIR absorption – as long as experiment parameters are kept constant. Therefore, for reliable nanoscale AFM-IR imaging and spectroscopy, realtime control of these parameters is required.

Outline of thesis project

This project lies at the intersection between AFM instrumentation (Schitter group, and analytical chemistry/laser spectroscopy (Georg Ramer, Your goal will be to enable real time, active compensation of mechanical artefacts in the AFM-IR signal. The project has three successive steps:

1. modeling of AFM-IR signal transduction

2. design and construction of control for real time compensation

3. integration with an existing AFM-IR instrument


-) Bachelor in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronic or similar

-) Interest in instrument development, creative problem solving

-) Fluency in either German or English

How to apply

Send your application (including academic CV, max. 2 pages) asap to

Start date: end of October 2021


Dr. Georg Ramer

Prof. Georg Schitter

Protein Refolding monitored by Laser-based IR Spectroscopy (Master Thesis)

Background and Motivation

IR spectroscopy is an excellent method for studying dynamics of protein secondary structure. However, its low sensitivity has been prohibitive for monitoring of protein refolding from inclusion bodies, which is an important step in downstream bioprocessing. Recent advancements in laser-based IR spectroscopy provided enhancement in robustness and sensitivity which are necessary for performing these measurements.

Scope of the work

You will be working in the Lendl at TU Wien together with a multi-disciplinary team of PhD students and PostDocs. This master thesis will be conducted within an FWF project dedicated to the advancement and application of laser-based IR spectroscopy for analysis of proteins in bioprocesses. Your work consists of IR measurements of proteins to study their secondary structure changes upon denaturation and protein refolding. Measurements will be performed with a novel laser-based IR transmission setup.
The thesis combines tasks in FTIR spectroscopy, liquid handling and optimizing experiment design. Students interested in extending their skills in these fields and in creative experimenting are encouraged to get in contact with us!



  • Bachelor in Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, or equivalent
  • Interest in instrumental analysis, spectroscopy, protein dynamics

Further Information


Dr. Andreas Schwaighofer

Prof. Bernhard Lendl