PhD Researcher in Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting with Responsive Metamaterial Surfaces

University of Freiburg

The livMats Cluster of Excellence is offering a PhD Research position for the project ThermoMetas: Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting with Responsive Metamaterial Surfaces
  • Application deadline: 28.10.2022
  • Publication date: 01.08.2022
  • Start-date: 01.01.2023
  • Part-time position (65 %)
  • Id no.: 00002428


The Cluster of Excellence livMatS develops completely novel, bioinspired materials systems that adapt autonomously to various environments and harvest clean energy from their surroundings. The intention of these purely technical – yet in a behavioral sense quasi-living – materials systems is to meet the demands of humans with regard to pioneering environmental and energy technologies. The societal relevance of autonomous systems and their sustainability will thus play an important role in their development. The research program of livMatS is characterized by highly interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from a broad range of fields including engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, the humanities, and sustainability sciences.

Project description

The ability to harvest energy from its surrounding is one of the most important capability of a smart material. Energy is the fundamental prerequisite for a responsive and smart material. Interestingly, there are many sources of (non-conventional) energy which can be harvested. Thermal energy is among the most amply available sources of energy - however, it is also one of the most difficult to harvest in miniaturized systems. This project aims at the development of complex metamaterial systems made from functional materials which can undergo shape changes upon changes in ambient temperature. These thermally-induced shape changes can be used to harvest energy. The materials to be used are based on phase-change materials which can be 3D printed. These materials will be processed using top-of-the-line Additive Manufacturing (AM) infrastructure available in the cluster. The aim is to substantially enrich the material landscape in smart materials with the aim of developing self-sustained systems with the ability to harvest thermal energy for distributed systems, e.g., in smart health, ambient assisted living, IoT or distributed sensing systems.

Candidate profile

You have a Master’s degree in microsystems engineering, electrical engineering, physics, material science or related subjects. Experience in microsystems engineering, manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing (e.g., (stereo)lithography) or related 3D Printing techniques is beneficial. You should have an eexcellent academic track record, should have eexcellent English language skills both in reading and writing and should be be a team player with ambitions. You should be interested in working in an inspiring interdisciplinary team with great emphasis on publications and publicity. Depending on the performance of the candidate the PhD degree is generally finished within three years and thus, a hard-working and dedicated personality is a prerequisite.

Please hand in:

  • Letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
  • Certified copies of your university degree(s) with grades (BA and MA certificate / Diploma certificate and transcript)
  • Short summary of your master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
  • Work sample (chapter from recent thesis or journal article, up to 5,000 words)
  • Suggestion of two referees with contact details

Your documents will not be returned after the application process. For this reason, please submit copies only. 

Direct all scientific questions about the project to

This position is limited to 36 months. The salary will be determined in accordance with E13 TV-L.

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.


Please send your application in English including supporting documents mentioned above citing the reference number 00002428, by 28.10.2022 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

University of Freiburg
Cluster of Excellence livMatS
Georges-Köhler-Allee 105
79110 Freiburg
Send all documents as ONE SINGLE PDF file.

For further information, please contact Herr Gregg Dubow on the phone number +49 761 203-95111 or E-Mail