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Autonomous light-actuated LCE actuators

Doctoral position in the Area of Micro-optics

As part of the Excellence Cluster livMatS, the Gisela and Erwin Sick Chair of Micro-optics will contribute to the development of completely autonomous light-actuated liquid-crystal elastomer (LCE) actuators. Based on many years of experience using these materials for the realization of tunable optical components, we will now develop means to make them autonomous. In close collaboration with chemistry researchers working in livMatS and the LCE optics team in the Micro-optics lab, we will now incorporate light-sensitive LCE materials into actuators which respond to light, deforming without external energy input. Using fabrication techniques we are continuing to develop, the challenge will be to demonstrate fully autonomous actuation of an optical component, such as an iris.

We are looking for a doctoral researcher for this project. Your responsibilities will include:
  • Study and modeling of the actuation characteristics of light-sensitive LCEs;
  • Development of structuring; alignment; and integration processes using MEMS technology;
  • Conceptualization and realization of autonomous optical component demonstrators.
Your profile includes:
  • A Master’s degree with top grades in chemical, microsystems, or mechanical engineering;
  • Experience in microfabrication; knowledge of chemistry and/or optics an advantage;
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team on the combination of very disparate technologies.


Applications are closed as of February 22nd 2019. We expect to fill this position by April 1st 2019. The position will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Zappe.


Doctoral position in the Area of Polymer Science

The doctoral candidate will develop novel liquid crystalline elastomer (LCE) materials based on polymers that carry light responsive groups which upon irradiation undergo shape changes, for example through cis-trans-isomerizations. He or she will then collaborate with other doctoral candidates in livMatS to generate actuators based on the materials developed. Candidates should hold an MSc degree in Chemistry or Materials Science or related fields. Excellent skills in the domain of polymer science are expected. Enthusiasm for top-quality research and good oral and written English communication skills are a must.


Applications are closed as of December 17th 2018. We expect to fill this position by January 15th 2019. The position will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rühe.

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