PhD student position: Liquid Crystals

Updated: 15 days ago
Deadline: 30 Jun 2024

The successful candidate will work in a novel and very intensive field of liquid crystal research, and will be challenged to explore the physics and the application potential of a new type of liquid crystal – the ferroelectric nematic.

Project description
The simplest form of liquid crystal – nematic –  is a non-polar orientationally ordered liquid. It is strongly stimuli-responsive and foremost utilized in liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for TVs, smartphones, laptops, and other electronic applications.

In 2020, the first example of a nematic phase with spontaneous polar order was identified. At that moment the more than 100 years old paradigm of the non-polar nature of nematic liquid crystals broke down, and the old truth that spontaneous polarization and ferroelectricity in liquid crystals require lower symmetry, layered (smectic) phases was overturned. The new ferroelectric nematic (NF ) phase has rapidly gained an enormous attention, also outside the liquid crystal community. The spontaneous electric polarization provides new functionalities, with possible applications in for example photonics, electronics, and sensor technology, but maybe also for energy harvesting and storage devices.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student that wants to pursue forefront experimental research on ferroelectric nematic liquid crystals, with the aim to further increase the knowledge about the mechanisms behind their formation and their phase behavior. From an applicational point of view, the understanding of the interplay between NF materials and bounding surfaces, is of special importance. Depending on the progress and evolution of the research activities, the work could also involve exploring ferroelectric nematic structures for energy harvesting and storage applications. The hired PhD student is encouraged to, and will have the possibility, to also bring in his/her own research ideas into the work.

The work will take place in an international environment and will include collaboration with European and American groups. It involves formulation of research questions, design of experiments, clean-room manufacturing, sample assembly and characterization in measurement labs.

Classic non-polar nematic liquid crystals once revolutionized display technology - where will the polar ferroelectric nematic liquid crystal take us? 

Major responsibilities
Your major responsibilities are to pursue your doctoral studies. You are expected to develop your own scientific concepts and communicate the results of your research verbally and in writing. The position generally also includes teaching on Chalmers' undergraduate level or performing other duties corresponding to 20 percent of working hours.

Your work will involve and requires extensive hands-on activities in the Chalmers Nano Fabrication Laboratory cleanroom , where you will create various types of organic and inorganic surface layers on solid substrates, and assemble/build various types of liquid crystal devices and test cells, using a large variety of different processing and analytic tools.

Optic and electrooptic studies using polarized light microscopy, and basic electronics equipment will be fundamental for the experimental work. Depending on the results and progress, you might further need to use dedicated experimental resources at other laboratories, abroad, or in Sweden. We expect you to show initiative by proactively developing and contributing with your own research ideas related to the advertised project. 

Read more about doctoral studies at Chalmers here .

You are curious, and want to understand new things. You have a solid interest in science in general, and physics/materials science in particular. As a PhD student you must be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with other researchers. Honesty and seriousness, regarding work, tasks, and results is required.

To qualify as a PhD student, you must have a master's level degree corresponding to at least 240 higher education credits in physics, physical chemistry, material science, electrical engineering, or a similar relevant field.

The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English. If Swedish is not your native language, Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

Contract terms
Full-time temporary employment. The position is limited to a maximum of five years.

We offer 
Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the coastal city of Gothenburg .
Read more about working at Chalmers  and our benefits  for employees.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence . Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Application procedure
The application should be marked with reference number 20240152 and written in English. The application should be sent electronically and be attached as PDF-files, as below. Maximum size for each file is 40 MB. Please note that the system does not support Zip files.

CV:  (Please name the document: CV, Family name, reference number)
• CV
• Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.
• Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter:  (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, ref.number)
1-3 pages where you:
• Introduce yourself
• Describe your previous experience of relevance for the position (e.g. education, thesis work and, if applicable, any other research activities)
• Describe your future goals and future research focus

Other documents:
• Copies of bachelor and/or master’s thesis.
• Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, e.g. TOEFL test results.

Please use the button at the foot of the page to reach the application form. 

Application deadline: 2024-06-30

For questions, please contact:
Per Rudquist
Email: [email protected]

*** Chalmers declines to consider all offers of further announcement publishing or other types of support for the recruiting process in connection with this position. ***

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and education in engineering sciences, architecture, technology-related mathematical sciences, natural and nautical sciences, working in close collaboration with industry and society. The strategy for scientific excellence focuses on our six Areas of Advance; Energy, Health Engineering, Information and Communication Technology, Materials Science, Production and Transport. The aim is to make an active contribution to a sustainable future using the basic sciences as a foundation and innovation and entrepreneurship as the central driving forces. Chalmers has around 11,000 students and 3,000 employees. New knowledge and improved technology have characterised Chalmers since its foundation in 1829, completely in accordance with the will of William Chalmers and his motto: Avancez!

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