International Doctoral Program in Science


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Ku Leuven

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Four world-class universities have partnered together to provide outstanding students an opportunity to pursue an International Ph.D. in Science: the University of Notre Dame (USA), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy), KU Leuven (Belgium), and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile). This program provides research opportunities in physics, chemistry, biology, environmental science, and mathematics through jointly supervised research projects across two of the partner universities. 

Students have two research advisors, one from the financing university, and one from the collaborating university. Students will have a mandatory stay of at least one full year at each of the institutions. 

For more information on the program or on how to apply, please contact Prof. Masaru Kuno at

The following research projects are currently accepting students:

1. Ultrafast Dynamics

Joint research project between the University of Notre Dame and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Research Topics: Ultrafast dynamics of single perovskite nanostructures

Abstract: The properties of nanomaterials often depend on the size and shape of the structure as well as the density of trap sites. Because samples of nanomaterials have a distribution of these parameters, it is important to study single structures. In this project, ultrafast transient absorption microscopy will be used to interrogate charge carrier dynamics in single Perovskite nanostrucutres. These measurements will provide detailed information about how charge carrier diffusion and trapping depend on size and shape as well as the surface chemistry of the nanostructure. This information is important for optimizing these materials for applications such as solar cells or light emitting diodes. 

Faculty: Prof. Masaru Kuno (ND), Prof. Greg Hartland (ND), Prof. Francesco Banfi (UCSC), and Prof. Claudio Giannetti (UCSC)

2. Cooperative Effects in Quantum Systems

Joint research project between Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and the University of Notre Dame

Research Topics: Open quantum systems, quantum transport in mesoscopic systems, disordered systems, superconductivity, super-radiance, long-range interacting systems

Abstract: The aim is to elaborate a common theoretical framework able to explain the emergence of cooperative phenomena, such as superradiance and superconductivity. Application to quantum transport in different realistic systems will also be studied. 

Faculty: Prof. Fausto Borgonovi (UCSC), Prof. Luca Celardo (UCSC), Prof. Boldizsar Janko (ND)

3. Exotic Structures in Light Nuclei through Resonant Reactions

Joint research project between KU Leuven and University of Notre Dame

Research Topics: Fundamental nuclear physics and solid-state physics using nuclear physics methods

Abstract: The research program at the Instituut voor Kern - en Stralingsfysica concentrates on fundamental nuclear physics and solid-state physics using nuclear physics methods. The experimental research combines local work at the detector and laser laboratories at KU Leuven with campaigns at various large international facilities. The structure of light nuclei exhibits peculiar features, such as halos, clusters, and configurations reminiscent of molecules. Because of the small number of nucleons, these systems are test grounds for ab-initio or few-body cluster models, while average-potential models often struggle to reproduce their characteristics. The experimental study of the exotic properties of light nuclei is a challenging task, requiring the use of dedicated instruments for their production and detection. In this project, we intend to use a novel kind of detector, an "active target", in combination with the light beams available at the TwinSol facility at Notre Dame. Of particular interest is the use of a rare beam of 8B ions to study the properties of selected exotic systems using resonant reactions. 

Faculty: Prof. Riccardo Raabe (KUL) and Prof. Tan Ahn (ND)

4. Differential Geometry and Applications to Modern Physics

Joint research project between Universita Cattolicà del Sacro Cuore and KU Leuven

Research Topics: Geometric fluid mechanics, homotopy moment maps and multicomponent map reduction, geometry of knot spaces, geometric quantization and reduction

Abstract: The project proposes the following mutually intermingled research paths mostly focused towards symplectic geometry and its multisymplectic generalizations, together with applications to modern physics issues, both classical and quantum mechanical, with an emphasis on topological aspects.

Faculty: Prof. Mauro Spera (UCSC) and Prof. Marco Zambon (KUL)

5. Study of the Surface Chemistry and the Electronic Properties of Pd1-xRux and Ag1-xRh0020 Cluster Films

Joint research project between Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and KU Leuven

Research Topics: Surface physics, condensed matter physics

Faculty: Prof. Alejandro Cabrera (PUC) and Prof. Dr. Peter Lievens (KU)