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PhD Position – Chemistry and Materials Science –Light-responsive polymeric materials for 3D and 4D printing

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We offer a PhD Position at the NeptunLab. The NeptunLab is the highly interdisciplinary research group of Prof. Bastian E. Rapp (owner of the chair of Process Technology) at the Department of Microsystems Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg. Research interests include the development of novel materials, technologies and processes for structuring materials and industrial applications. The work of the NeptunLab is published in the most important international journals including Lab-on-a-Chip, Advanced Materials, Angewandte Chemie and Nature and has been featured in national and international radio and print media including the BBC, the New York Times and the Discovery Channel.

Man-made materials are usually designed to be unchangeable in their form and structure. Natural materials however are known to adjust to their surroundings, like a plant orienting its leaves towards the sun. The concept of 4D printing describes materials, that, after they have been additively manufactured, can changes their physical form or shape in a controlled fashion. This project aims at developing materials and especially surfaces that can be modified physically (shape) and chemically (reactivity, wetting behavior etc.) by an external trigger such as light. A special focus will be put on materials with reversibly changeable properties such as surface charge distribution and reactivity.
In this project, photoswitchable molecules such as azo compounds and spiropyrans will be used to generate responsive and changeable surfaces. Changes in wettability, shape and adsorptive properties of the surfaces and structures will be analyzed. Polymers with photocleavable protective groups will be developed and their behavior under deprotection and exposure of their functional groups will be analyzed. This project is part of the the ZEISS Forschungscluster Interactive and programmable materials (IPROM), with a total of 10 research groups from Freiburg working on novel concepts of 4D printing.

Activities and Responsibilities
• Development of novel azobenzene and spiropyran containing polymers
• Analysis of polymer behavior under an external light trigger
• Development of novel protective group chemistry for selective and reversible protection and deprotection of functional groups on polymers.
• Egineering of polymer mixtures for the use in 3D printing
• Programming of properties and function in responsive polymers

Qualification Profile
• Master’s degree/Bachelor’s degree/Studies in chemistry, materials science or related subjects
• Profound knowledge of photopolymerization processes and stereolithography is required
• Knowledge of protective groups in organic chemistry as well as polymer chemistry are beneficial.
• Excellent academic track record
• Excellent English skills in reading and writing
• You should be a team player with ambitions who can conduct research projects independently
• You should be a creative mind without causing excessive chaos around you
• You should be able to structure and document your work properly

• An interdisciplinary work environment with a team of motivated scientists that strive to develop clever solutions for scientific as well as industrial problems
• Well-funded projects with access to excellent state-of-the art infrastructure, generous lab space and scientific equipment
• An aspiring young team with great emphasis on publications and publicity
• A lab structure that promotes the development of the individual members and fosters open-minded scientific discussions
• A strong focus on the career development of the candidate including submitting to and attending the most relevant international conferences and summer schools
• An environment that supports start-up mentality – if your research is industrially applicable and promising, we will move towards commercialization of your solution
• Payment of TV-L 13 75% (full time)
• Depending on the performance of the candidate the PhD degree is generally finished within three years

Your Application
Please consult the “before you apply” section of our homepage

Make sure you attach all relevant documents (pdf format preferred)
• Letter of motivation: Why do you apply for this position?
• Curriculum Vitae
• Academic track record (recent grades)
• References


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