PhD Position –Chemistry and Polymer Chemistry – Supporting matrices for volumetric 3D printing – synthesis of microparticles and compounding of microgels


We offer a PhD Position at the young investigator group of Dr. Dorothea Helmer at the Freiburg Material Research Center (FMF) a central research institute at the University of Freiburg. Research foci of the group include material chemistry and material structuring. Dr. Helmer heads the research group “MatrixPrint” within the NanoMat Futur program and is also the leader of the group “material structuring and surface chemistry” at the NeptunLab of Prof. Bastian E. Rapp (IMTEK). Her work is published in the most important international journals including Nature and Science and has been featured in national and international radio and print media including the BBC, the New York Times and the Discovery Channel.


3D Printing is a very promising technique for material structuring in science and industry. The often-proclaimed “3D printing revolution” promises the easy fabrication of nearly arbitrary parts. However, today there are still three major issues in 3D printing that severely limit the versatility of the technologies: prints are slow due to the need for generating supporting structures around complex prints, different types of machines are required for each material class and and prints often lack precision on the micrometer scale. The project “MatrixPrint” is part of the BMBF NanoMat Futur programme and aims at developing solutions to these issues by combining the work of chemists, material scientists and engineers. The project aims at developing supporting matrices and corresponding inks for volumetric 3D printing on a customized FDM-based platform. During the printing process, the ink is injected into the supporting matrix, which holds it in place, enabling true 3D prints.

In this project, the materials for the viscoelastic supporting matrices and the corresponding inks for printing will be developed. The matrices are based on microparticles, which will be synthesized and analysed in terms of their properties. Different types of matrices will be developed, such as reusable or photocurable matrices. The printing inks are based on small particles of different material classes, such as metals, glasses and polymers. The particles will be dispersed in appropriate binders which can be polymerized by light. Matrices and inks will be tested for the use in volumetric 3D printing.

Activities and Responsibilities

  • Synthesis of polymeric microparticles for support matrices
  • Synthesis and compounding of supporting matrices that can be polymerized by light
  • Synthesis of metal, glass and polymer inks
  • Analysis of support matrix particles and ink particles

Qualification Profile

  • Master’s degree and studies in chemistry, polymer chemistry or related subjects
  • Profound knowledge of microgels, interpenetrating polymer networks and photoreactions is required
  • Knowledge of particle analysis is beneficial
  • Excellent academic track record
  • Excellent English skills in reading and writing
  • You should be a creative mind, developing your own ideas and willing to go the extra mile to generate outstanding scientific results
  • You should be a team player with ambitions who can conduct research projects independently
  • You should be able to structure and document your work properly

Wir bieten/Benefits

  • An aspiring young team with great emphasis on publications and publicity
  • An interdisciplinary work environment with a team of motivated scientists that strive to develop clever solutions for scientific as well as industrial problems
  • Well-funded projects with access to excellent state-of-the art infrastructure, generous lab space and scientific equipment
  • A lab structure that promotes the development of the individual members and fosters open-minded scientific discussions
  • A strong focus on the career development of the candidate including submitting to and attending relevant international conferences
  • An environment that supports start-up mentality – the NanoMat Futur Program aims at technology transfer
  • Payment of TV-L 13 75% (full time)
  • Depending on the performance of the candidate the PhD degree is generally finished within three years

Your Application

Please not that inclomplete and generic applications will not be considered. What are generic applications - here are two expamles:

  • Addressed to a generic party (dear Sir or madam/commitee/Professor/...)
  • Not linking your skills to the specific position

Complete applications: Make sure you attach all relevant documents (pdf format preferred)

  • Letter of motivation: Why do you apply for this position?
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Academic track record (recent grades)
  • References


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