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PhD candidate in Experimental Soft Condensed Matter Physics

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The University of Luxembourg seeks to hire outstanding researchers at its Research Unit for Physics and Materials Science (PhyMS; click for website). The research at PhyMS is focused on condensed matter physics, with strong experimental as well as theoretical activities on topics ranging from photovoltaics and solid state electronics to nanomagnetism and soft matter physics. It is a strongly international environment with researchers from many different countries and with active research collaborations on a global scale, with academic as well as industrial partners.
The University of Luxembourg has the following vacancy in the Physics and Materials Research Unit of its Faculty of Sciences, Technology and Communication.
PhD candidate in Experimental Soft Condensed Matter Physics (M/F)
  • Ref: R-AGR-0142-10-Z
  • 14 month initial contract, extendable up to 36 month, 40 hours/week
  • Student status
Research group and context of the research: The position belongs to an ERC Consolidator Grant project led by Dr. Jan Lagerwall, professor at PhyMS and head of the Experimental Soft Matter Physics Group (www.lcsoftmatter.com). This project is strongly interdisciplinary, having its foundation in soft matter (specifically liquid crystal) physics, but targeting applications in, e.g., wearable technology, based on liquid crystal-functionalized electrospun fibers, and soft robotics, utilizing liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) actuators.
Your Role:
You will be producing mats of liquid crystal-functionalized textile fiber by means of coaxial electrospinning, followed by investigation of the fiber mats on multiple scales and using a variety of characterization techniques. You will assess the fibers concerning morphology and core-sheath composition as well as regarding functionality, in particular for sensing. The materials you will encounter range from low molar mass thermotropic liquid crystals to high molar mass polymers, and you will also be polymerizing reactive precursors. As the project bridges physics, chemistry, textile technology and art, you will be working closely together with team members and external collaborators with complementary expertise. While the highly interdisciplinary scope is stimulating and provides a unique training opportunity, it also makes an openminded and collaborative attitude and good communication skills an absolute requirement.
Specific tasks (to be addressed in collaboration with the other team members) include:
  • coaxial electrospinning of core-sheath fibers with low molar mass liquid crystal encapsulated inside a sheat of textile grade polymer;
  • tailoring of the polymer-liquid crystal interface by means of surfactants, inorganic salts etc. for ensuring a specific interaction with the liquid crystal and with compounds to which the fiber is exposed;
  • tuning the fiber sheath morphology, in particular with respect to surface porosity;
  • polymerization of reactive mesogen precursors into liquid crystal elastomers;
  • characterization of the liquid crystal-functionalized fibers with scanning electron microscopy, polarizing optical microscopy and mechanical properties testers.
Your Profile:

We are looking for an excellent candidate who possesses:
  • M.Sc. in physics, physical chemistry or related field;
  • strong background in physics and physical chemistry of materials, in particular polymers and/or liquid crystals;
  • a genuine interest in soft matter physics (prerequisite) and (preferably) previous experience with electrospinning, liquid crystals, polymers and/or textile technology;
  • experience of interdisciplinary research will be considered as an advantage;
  • commitment and capacity for team work and critical thinking;
  • fluent written and verbal communication skills in English.
We offer:
highly competitive salary at an equal opportunity employer. You will be working in an exciting international setting and be a part of a fast growing and dynamic research environment.
Applications, in English and submitted online, should include:
  • Curriculum Vitae (including your contact address, work experience, publications);
  • a cover letter indicating why you find the research area interesting and how you see the Ph.D. work on this project fitting in your career path;
  • a transcript of all courses and results from the university-level courses taken;
  • a max 1-page description of your Master’s work;
  • contact information for 3 referees.
    Please apply online until 31st May 2016 via the following link: http://emea3.mrted.ly/10xiy
For inquiries, please contact
Prof. Jan Lagerwall (Jan.Lagerwall@uni.lu

Contact detail

How to apply:
Please apply online until 31st May 2016 via the following link: http://emea3.mrted.ly/10xiy
Send application to
Prof. Jan Lagerwall (Jan.Lagerwall@uni.lu)

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Working place
1511 Luxembourg
Area of expertise