PhD position in fabrication and electromechanical characterizations of oxide thin films for piezoelectric and pyroelectric energy conversions - DTU Energy

Updated: 4 months ago

We offer a PhD fellowship in the Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark, to work on a project to engineer and characterize functional oxide thin films towards high-efficiency energy conversion performance with fundamental understandings. 

Discovering new piezoelectric and pyroelectric materials for high-efficiency energy conversion materials is a cutting-edige research area in the forefront of material science and thus offers significant scientific and technological advancements. The PhD research is part of the recently granted Villum project, ‘‘Defect-Induced Symmetry Breaking in Centrosymmetric Oxides for High-Efficiency Energy Conversion (SYMTEC)’’ and is dedicated to design and engineer oxide thin film materials. 

Research project
The SYMTEC project aims to provide new directions for inducing piezoelectric and pyroelectricity in lead-free centrosymmetric materials by defect engineering, thus extending the range of available materials and opening new research area - Nanopiezoionics. We will explore the symmetry breaking of the materials in two important energy conversion fields, namely, piezoelectric and pyroelectric energy conversions. This will be carried out by designing oxide thin films and optimizing the strain- and electric field-mediated defect array (/polarization), size scailing, and interfaces. 

The current PhD research Programme will look at engineering and characterizing functional oxide thin film materials for highly efficient electromechanical and pyroelectric energy conversions. The main objectives of this project are to:

  • Establish the fundamental mechanisms on the induced piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects in centrosymmetric crystal structures
  • Uncover the universality of the piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects in centrosymmetric crystal structures
  • Engineer the oxide thin films with charged defect arrays
  • Responsibilities and qualifications
    The successful candidate will work with thin film device fabrication, electromechanical, and pyroelectric measurements and relate the findings to theory. The focus of the work will be on the defect-mediated symmetry breaking in thin film materials grown by pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The prepared thin films will be examined by advanced material characterizations (e.g. ultrasensitive electromechanical, dielectric, and pyroelectric tests in various frequency and temperatures) to shed light on the underlying conversion mechanisms. Establishing the relationship between defect motion, redistribution (stabilization), crystal symmetry, and electromechanical (pyroelectric) response to applied electric fields (temperature modulations) is key to understanding the generation of piezoelectric (pyroelectric) effects in the centrosymmetric oxides. 

    Candiates must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree, preferably in physics or materials science-related discipline.

    Candidates with the following qualifications are preferred:

    • Experience working with oxides
    • Knowledge in solid-state physics or materials science
    • Experience with PLD growth of oxide thin films and heterostructures
    • Experience with ionic transport, dielectric, and electromechanical measurements skills

    Further qualifications:

    • Good understanding of electrical and structural measurements
    • Good communication skills in English 
    • Ability to work both independently and in a team 

    Approval and Enrolment
    The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education . 

    We offer
    DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

    Salary and employment terms
    The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

    You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

    The expected starting date is 1 July 2023.

    Further information
    Please contact Dr Daesung Park, +45 9195 2343,  for further information.

    Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead please apply online as described below.

    If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark . Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar ” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU. 

    Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 1 June 2023 (Danish time)

    Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply now", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

    • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
    • Curriculum vitae 
    • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

    You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

    Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

    All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

    DTU Energy is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, magnetic refrigeration, superconductivity and thermoelectrics. Additional information about the department can be found on

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