Master's Thesis - Polymer Chemistry and Materials Science - 3D printing of multicomponent glasses

We offer a Master’s Thesis 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.

Glasses are an important class of materials in scientific research, industry and society. Their unmatched optical transparency in combination with their chemical and thermal resistance make glasses ideal for the use in chemical synthesis, optics and photonics or medical applications. However, glasses and especially high purity glasses like fused silica glass are notoriously difficult to structure: requiring high-temperature melting or hazardous etching processes.
We have recently developed a new method to fabricate high quality fused silica glass using silica nanocomposites (Kotz et al., Advanced Materials, 2016). This novel concept allows for the first time to process glass like a polymer. Using this technology, it is possible for the first time to structure fused silica glass using 3D printing but also by high-throughput replication technologies like roll-to-roll replication (Kotz et al., Nature, 2017; Kotz et al. Advanced Materials 2018). We are currently expanding this process to 3D printing of multicomponent glasses for applications in life science (so called bioglasses) and optics and photonics. In the course of this project you will be developing novel nanocomposites for 3D printing of multicomponent glasses.

Activities and responsibilities

  • Synthesis of multicomponent glass nanoparticles
  • Development of nanocomposites for stereolithography (e.g. finding appropriate dispersants and monomers for the dispersion of the synthesized nanoparticles, rheological characterization)
  • Integration of these materials into a stereolithography printer and fabrication of test prints
  • Characterization of the sintered glasses (e.g. FTIR, UV/VIS spectroscopy, refractometry, XPS)

Qualification profile

  • Bachelor’s degree in polymer chemistry or materials science or related subjects
  • Profound knowledge of organic chemistry and polymer chemistry is required
  • Knowledge of fabrication of nanocomposites and operation of 3D stereolithography printers are beneficial.
  • Excellent academic track record
  • Excellent English skills in reading and writing
  • You should be a team player with ambition to solve problems and publish your results
  • 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 with the possibility to conduct industrially and socially relevant research with the distinct goal to produce scientific publications
  • An environment that supports start-up mentality – if your research is industrially applicable and promising, we will move towards commercialization of your solution

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While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: jv-m-multicompglass