PhD Position in the field of elastomer-based sensors and actuators with piezoelectric ceramic fillers

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.
For a fundamental project, funded by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), we are looking for a highly motivated student with a strong background in electrospinning of ceramic materials and soft polymer composites with functional properties (e.g. piezoelectric, magnetic ect.). This project focus on the synthesis of ceramic fillers using electrospinning method and the embedding in elastomers. The focus of the project is the development of elastomers with piezoelectric properties using 3D printing methods. The project is in collaboration with EPFL.

Your tasks

  • Explore and develop piezoelectric ceramic materials by electrospinning process
  • Embedding the electrospun ceramic filler into elastomeric materials
  • Piezoelectric characterization of the fibers and the composite materials
  • Explore analytic methods to demonstrate piezoelectric properties of the composite materials
  • Development demonstrator with piezoelectric sensors and actuators
  • Chemical and physical polymer analysis methods to better understand the interaction between ceramic filler and elastomeric matrix materials

Your profile

You have a master in chemistry, materials science, mechanical engineering, robotic or a similar field. Previous experience with one or more of the following topics is required: Synthesis of ceramic material, basics in polymer science, 3D printing of elastomer materials, programming of electronic devices (e.g. Arduino) or piezoelectric characterization. The experimental nature of the work requires a very high level of experimental skills, an analytical mindset for interpreting results, and the ability to design innovative experiments. You are a team player and your strengths include taking personal responsibility, excellence and flexibility to work and deliver results. The candidate should have excellent written and oral communication skills in English. Knowledge of German is beneficial, but not mandatory.

Our offer

We offer a PhD position at the research institution with excellent infrastructure and plenty of possibilities for personal and professional development. The position is for 4 years starting September 2024 or upon mutual agreement.
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. Frank Clemens
Group Leader Smart ceramic processing
Laboratory for High Performance Ceramics

Your future place of work

Ueberlandstrasse 129
8600 Dübendorf

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.