PhD position Artificial Molecular Machines (2.0 FTE)

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 18 May 2020

The position holders will be members of the group of prof. Ben Feringa, within the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry. The position is funded through the European Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) "ArtMoMa". Such ITNs have a double mission: (a) to pursue a scientific research goal (like other European research projects), and (b) to provide an intense, interdisciplinary, international training environment for PhD students. The PhD students will attend several joint training weeks organized by partner universities in Europe, as well as three research stays in collaborating research groups and industrial partners. They will benefit both from the expertise within the ITN framework and the large and varied Feringa group.

The ITN “Artificial Molecular Machines” (ArtMoMa) is a European research consortium consisting of 8 research groups and 8 industrial partners. The network aims to reach new heights in the emerging field of artificial molecular machines, and will reveal the unknown through leveraging the capabilities and joint workforce of top-notch research centres and companies in order to further develop EU research and education structures. The ArtMoMa consortium has the ambition to train a new generation of visionary researchers capable of conducting high gain, high risk research. More information can be found on the website

Position ESR3 “Molecular swimmers using motor based flagella” will focus on the challenge ‘how to bias Brownian motion to create molecular propellers that can direct their displacement in solution’. The transmission of rotary motion to translational motion is the main objective to mimic bacterial flagellar motion or walking motions over nanostructured tracks. In biology, flagellar systems based on membrane-embedded rotary motors allow bacteria to swim featuring some of the most ingenious machineries of life. We plan to design several potential molecular swimmers based on the light-driven rotary motors developed in the Feringa group. Secondments will take place at Solvay, and in the groups of Alberto Credi in Bologna and Andrew Turberfield in Oxford (2 months each).

Position ESR13 “Molecular motor-based nanoscale energy storage system” will focus on the challenge ‘how to create energy materials by harnessing them with molecular motors’. The aim of this project is to design motor-based materials in which the light-induced rotary motion can be harnessed as mechanical energy or by driving systems out-of-equilibrium. Here we will take advantage of our recently discovered third generation motors, the unique function of light-powered motors as chiral dopants in LC matrices as well as amphiphilic motors that self-assemble into well-defined nano-objects in water. Nature uses the collective action of rotary and translational motors to induce macroscopic effects or reach out-of-equilibrium behaviour. Incorporation of our novel, third generation motors in polymers networks allows, due to their unique molecular architecture and dynamic properties, winding and contraction to store photochemical energy. Secondments will take place at Tarkett, and in the groups of Nicolas Giuseppone in Strasbourg and Stefan Diez in Dresden (2 months each).

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