Empa - the place where innovation starts

Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.
Our Department of Advanced Materials and Surfaces has an opening for a
PhD Position on atomistic modeling of heterogeneous interfaces with complex chemical bonding

This work is the starting point for a long-term collaboration between EMPA (Thun, Switzerland) and the University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté (Dijon, France). The Ph.D. student will be working full-time at Empa in Thun, next to Bern, Switzerland, but the Ph.D. diploma will be delivered by the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC), where the student will be enrolled. The student will be working under the supervision of two leading experts in large-scale atomistic simulations such as Dr. Vladyslav Turlo (Empa) and Dr. Olivier Politano (UBFC). The close collaboration with various experimental groups in the Department of Advanced Materials and Surfaces at Empa is expected.


About the position: More and more attention of materials scientists is attracted by heterogeneous interfaces due to the complex atomic ordering and chemical bonding, resulting in new unique mechanical, thermodynamic, and kinetic properties. Solid/liquid, metal/ceramic, organic/inorganic are the typical examples of such heterogeneous interfaces that make the most profound impact on the properties of nanostructured composite materials such as nanoparticle-reinforced metal matrix composites and alternating nano-multilayers.

In this project, we are going to use atomistic simulations to investigate such nano-composite materials in highly non-equilibrium conditions, applying strong heating/cooling and deformation rates to such materials. Moreover, we will provide modeling support to different laboratories at Empa, running experimental projects on fabrication and testing of such nano-composite materials, which include:


The atomistic simulations will be performed by using the molecular dynamics (MD) method and the reactive interatomic potentials (COMB3 and ReaxFF), allowing for establishing and breaking the bonds between atoms while dynamically equilibrating their charges. Calculations will be performed on supercomputers in Switzerland and France.

Your profile: You have recently received a Master degree in physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, or a closely related field with outstanding grades. You have an excellent knowledge of inorganic chemistry and a keen interest in bridging chemistry and physics. You have a clear interest to work in an application-oriented research environment in close collaboration with experimentalists. Prior experience with atomistic simulations and molecular dynamics methods as well as programming skills on C++ and Python would be an advantage. Good knowledge of English (oral and written) is mandatory, while knowledge of German or French would be an advantage.

The full-time position is limited to four years and the preferred start is in the fall of 2020 or upon agreement.

For further information about the position please contact Dr Vladyslav Turlo vladyslav.turlo@empa.ch or Dr Olivier Politano olivier.politano@u-bourgogne.fr and visit our websites www.empa.ch/ and Empa-Video

We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts of records and contact details of at least two referees. Please upload the requested documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.

Empa, Cristina Marinoni, Human Resources, Ueberlandstrasse 129, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland.