PhD scholarship in Novel Method for the Printing of Hydrogel and Hydrogel Composites – DTU Construct
The DTU Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, section of Manufacturing Engineering would like to invite highly motivated and talented applicants for a 3-year PhD position dealing with the development of a novel method for the printing of hydrogel and hydrogel composites. The project is partially financed by the DTU’s alliance PhD scheme and will run in collaboration with DTU and Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST).
Background and Motivation
Three-dimensional (3D) printing of hydrogels is now an attractive area of research due to its capability to fabricate intricate, complex and customized structures that can support cell adhesion and promote cell infiltration for tissue engineering. It has the potential to have extensive use in advanced medical applications such as in implants, scaffolds, biobots, muscles, etc. One limiting factor for the widespread application of hydrogel for biomedical applications is the lack of mechanical stability of hydrogel. The mechanical strength of hydrogel is not as high as load-bearing tissues or as required by the aforementioned applications. One potential way to overcome this problem is to create composite structures having hydrogel as matrix material combined with reinforcing agents. Moreover, to mimic the behavior of living tissues, self-healing or self-repairing capability of hydrogel materials should be developed.
This PhD project will join forces from DTU and KAIST to develop hydrogel materials for Tomographic Volumetric printing process that goes far beyond the capacity of the state-of-the-art printing for biomaterials. Many limitations of the current layer-by-layer AM techniques such as process speed, geometry, non-uniform mechanical properties, surface quality, etc. can potentially be eliminated by the development of Tomographic Volumetric (TV) 3D printing. The novel processes developed in the project will pave the way for programming the properties of hydrogels in an industrially adaptive process. The project will develop a process for tailoring the hydrogel composites, optimizing their mechanical, physical, chemical and biological properties. For applications like medical implants, scaffolds, biobots, artificial muscles, etc. the patients have individual needs based on their anatomy and genetic makeup. The proposed method will be suitable for the fabrication of personalized implants, scaffolds and other functional or reconfigurable devices.
Responsibilities and qualifications
Goals and objectives of the project:
- The primary objective of the project is to develop hydrogel and hydrogel composite parts that can be processed by the TV printing process, so that the traditional layering induced artifacts can be eliminated. Required post-processing techniques will be developed by the project that will be simple, fast and customized to the need of medical components.
- The project will explore wide varieties of photo- initiating and inhibitory systems for hydrogels and hydrogel composites and find the best-suited materials for TV printing and to eliminate some of the structural problems (like low stiffness and structural stability). A rigorous process and machine optimization will be performed for printing hydrogels and their composites.
- This highly ambitious project will increase the fundamental understanding about interactions of micro- and nanoscale particles or objects with the hydrogel materials in-situ conditions. One bottleneck of TV printing can be the gravitational pull on the printed objects, which may fall to the bottom of the vat before the printing is finished due to the gravity. The project will incorporate the idea of acoustic levitation to keep the printing object in place until the printing is finished. This will be a ground-breaking innovation in the area of TV printing and will solve a fundamental problem associated with the process.
- Furthermore, the project will develop self-healing capability of hydrogel and hydrogel composite parts produced by TV 3D printing to mimic the behavior of living tissues, which can autonomously repair minor damages, and therefore, widening the potential of artificial tissue, bone and organs for biomedical applications.
- Several application-oriented prototypes liked implants, scaffolds, biobots, etc. will be designed and fabricated by the developed method and their characteristics will be systematically evaluated to demonstrate the breakthrough made by the project.
- You are expected to contribute to DTU’s collaborations with the Danish Hearing Aid companies and help in the knowledge transfer from DTU to the industrial partners
- You will engage in DTU’s teaching and supervision activities
- You will be responsible for the systematic planning and following up on your research project, and to ensure the scientific integrity of your research
- You will participate in international conferences, compose scientific manuscripts for publications, and take part in outreach activities
You need to 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 in engineering, physics, material science, or related fields.
Applicants with experience in one or more of the following topics will be preferred:
- Background in mechanical or manufacturing engineering
- Experience with additive manufacturing processes
- Knowledge in hydrogels and photopolymers
- Knowledge in machine building or mechanical construction
- Experience in hands-on experiments, handling of mechanical, optical, chemical setups
- Familiarity with any programming language and CAD modeling will be of advantage
Preference will also be given to candidates who can document their ability for scientific publications. We also expect that:
- You have the ability to work focused and to achieve ambitious goals
- You are willing to develop any required skills and knowledge
- You are a good team player, proactive and willing to take responsibilities
- You have excellent communication skills in English - both written and spoken
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 .
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Prof. Aminul Islam, DTU Construct, Assistant Prof. Yi Yang, DTU Chemistry, Associate Prof. Jungchul Lee, KAIST.
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 appointment 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. Starting date is 1 July 2023 (or according to mutual agreement). The position is a full-time position.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here .
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Aminul Islam (email@example.com , +45 4525 4896), Assistant Professor Yi Yang (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Associate Professor Jungchul Lee (email@example.com , +82 42 350 3212).
You can read about DTU Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at https://construct.dtu.dk/ .
You can read about KAIST Manufacturing and Instrumentation Laboratory athttp://mnil.kaist.ac.kr .
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 25 April 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:
- Application letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project (cover letter)
- Curriculum vitae (with full contact information of 3 academic references)
- Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
- Documentation of previous research and publication experience (if relevant)
- Optional documents - English proficiency certificate (for instance TOEFL or IELTS), recommendation letters, any other document that demonstrates your experience or relevance for the proposed PhD project
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 Civil and Mechanical Engineering develops and utilizes science and technical knowledge for the benefit of society and the sustainable development. We undertake research, education, innovation, and scientific advice of the highest quality within building design and processes, building construction and safety, building energy and installation, solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, materials technology, manufacturing engineering, engineering design and thermal energy systems.
Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.
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