PhD Student in the field of Biomimetic Metamaterials (a)
Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.

The Architectured Materials Group aims at developing novel functional materials with unprecedented combinations of properties. We investigate multiscale structure-property relationships and toughening mechanisms in biological tissues such as bone or wood. We translate this knowledge into the design of novel metamaterials with hierarchical architecture and tailored microstructure that allow us to combine usually mutually exclusive properties, e.g. high strength and toughness with a low density. To achieve this, we closely integrate experimental and modeling approaches.
Your tasks
In this project, you will investigate the fascinating multiscale structure-property relationships of the musk ox skull that yield extraordinary shock absorption performance under repeated high energy impacts. Based on the lessons learned, you will design, synthesize, and characterize artificial metamaterials with outstanding energy absorption capabilities. Throughout the project, you will utilize different state of the art experimental and modelling approaches such as high resolution CT imaging, mechanical simulations of impacts at several length scales, analytical and numerical modeling of artificial lattice structures, 3D printing of microscale metamaterials using two photon lithography, as well as dynamic micromechanical testing. You will be enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering doctoral program at ETH Zurich under the co-supervision of Prof. Dennis Kochmann. Your research will contribute to the understanding of elastic wave propagation in and dynamic failure of bone structures and opens up possibilities for designing resilient metamaterials for applications such as protective components in, e.g., sports, space and aviation, or MEMS sectors.
Your profile
You must hold a Master’s or an equivalent Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related field. A high motivation to work at the leading edge of mechanical sciences in an international, multidisciplinary research team is essential. Very good knowledge of English (oral and written) is essential. Knowledge of German would be an advantage. A solid background in continuum mechanics and mechanical modelling is important. Experience in  numerical simulation (e.g. using Abaqus or Comsol), image analysis, mechanical testing, and/or programming (e.g. Python, Matlab) is desirable.
Our offer
We offer an international, highly stimulating research environment with excellent infrastructure for personal and professional development. You will be working at Empa Thun, near Bern, and enrolled at ETH Zurich. The starting date is as soon as possible or upon mutual agreement and the PhD project is planned for 4 years.
«a» stands for «all» in our job advertisements. We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities - that's what counts.
We look forward to receiving your complete online application including a letter of motivation, CV, certificates, diplomas and contact details of two reference persons. Please submit these exclusively via our job portal. Applications by e-mail and by post will not be considered.
Cristina Marinoni, Bereichspersonalleiterin / HR Partner
  Dr. Johann Jakob Schwiedrzik
Group Leader Architectured Materials
Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures
Your future place of work
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
3602 Thun
Empa as an employer
Innovative, sustainable, meaningful activities
Creating added value for society
International, multicultural working environment
Freedom to create and develop
Culture of inclusion and respect
Excellent balance between different areas of life
Multiple award-winning and certified employer
Benefits for rail, mobile, childcare, catering, etc.