The Transport Processes and Reactions Laboratory (LTR, ETH Zurich) in collaboration with the High Voltage Laboratory (HVL, ETH Zurich) is searching for a
Scientific Assistant: The Effect of Surface Wettability on Corona Onset in HVDC Electric Fields (80-100%)
High Voltage overhead lines are currently an integral part of the electrical energy transport system. A key aspect of their environmental performance is related to the so-called corona effects. Corona is a partial electric discharge caused by high electric fields on the conductor surface and is the cause of noise, radio interference and, in the case of High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC), also ion currents at ground level. Water drops are one of the primary determinant of how intensive these effects are (a perfectly dry conductor should not produce any corona). Therefore, the surface properties of the conductors are extremely important since a surface with extreme water repellency would be highly desirable.
We aim to employ fundamentals in wettability engineering and materials science to fabricate surfaces with different wettability. In this line experiments will be conducted to evaluate the interaction between water droplets and fabricated surfaces under the effect of high voltage electric field at a state-of-the-art home-built setup. Experiments will involve, optical inspection of static or impacting water droplets with the use of a high-speed camera and partial discharge measurements. The master student will have the chance to join a multidisciplinary team and work within an exciting and interesting project that combines a variety of different fields. Duration of employment is 12 months with a percentage of workload 80%-100%.
The candidate should preferably hold a recent Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering or Process Engineering, or be a student finishing the last semester of one of the aforementioned Master’s degree programmes. The candidate should be highly motivated and be able to demonstrate excellent English writing and speaking skills.
We look forward to receiving your online application including a cover letter, a comprehensive CV and diplomas. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

For any queries and information requests please contact Dr. Christos Stamatopoulos at stamatoc(at) or Dr. Martin Pfeiffer at pfeiffer(at)