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PhD Thesis – engineering and materials science – Novel metal replication techniques for generating moulds for injection moulding

Project Description

We offer a PhD Position at the NeptunLab. The NeptunLab is the highly interdisciplinary research group of Prof. Bastian E. Rapp 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.

Precise shaping of polymer components is essential for many fields in science, industry and everyday life. Especially highly precise microstructuring is of high interest for the generation of novel optical components. Today, classical subtractive methods such as diamond turning, laser ablation, milling and eroding are regularly used for shaping polymeric precision parts. However, for high throughput industrial scale fabrication injection moulding remains the method of choice.
The fabrication processes of the future must ensure flexibility for testing of designs and small-scale fabrication of parts on demand. Nowadays, injection moulding requires the costly and time-consuming fabrication of moulds. To make injection moulding ready for the 21st century, novel methods for faster and less expensive mould productions need to be developed. This project therefore aims at developing new methods for generating moulds by using replicative processes, i.e. moulding of low-temperature melting metals and metal alloys. The concept is based on a metal moulding process invented and patented by the NeptunLab.

Activities and Responsibilities
• Generate prototypes for metal moulding using additive manufacturing
• Replicate metal moulds from the generated prototypes
• Use the metal moulds for injection moulding of optical polymeric components
• Evaluate metal moulds in terms of hardness, porosity, temperature resistance, etc.
• Evaluate process parameters
• Evaluate generated structures by size, shrinkage, surface roughness, etc.

Your Qualification Profile
• Master’s degree/Bachelor’s degree/Studies in engineering or materials science or related subjects
• Profound knowledge of injection moulding is required
• Knowledge of additive manufacturing, metals an and replication techniques 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 able to structure and document your work properly
• You should be a creative mind willing to go the extra mile to produce outstanding results

What We Offer
• 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), gross salary (before taxes) ~ 2878 €, see for details
• Depending on the performance of the candidate the PhD degree is generally finished within three years

Funding Notes

This project is part of ZIM (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand) Germany’s largest innovation programme for small and medium-sized enterprises. The project is a cooperation between the University of Freiburg and two medium sized German enterprises.


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Please Include
• CV
• Letter of motivation
• Academic track record (grades)
• Publication list
• References

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