PhD position on Encapsulated Chemistries for Advanced Multi-Functional Materials

The Calvino group has an open PhD position to work on the use of Encapsulated Chemistries for the design of Advanced Multi-Functional Materials as part of the Cluster of Excellence livMatS and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

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.

This research program provides successful applicants with the opportunity to join a multidisciplinary and highly qualified group of experts in the field of adaptive materials and develop a multidisciplinary scientific skill set. Furthermore, our program offers the chance to discover different working environments and the potential to establish future research and collaborative opportunities. Finally, the University of Freiburg offers competitive working conditions with state-of-the-art equipment for designing responsive chemical motifs as well as for engineering and characterizing polymer materials.



An emerging and versatile approach to impart new functionalities into polymer materials relies on the encapsulation of chemical solutions that can be released and activated (chemically or physically) when the walls of the capsules are mechanically damaged. In this context, various designs and chemical activation schemes have been developed and ultimately led to materials with advanced self-healing and self-reporting functionalities. One way to further expand this framework utility would rely on a controlled release of the chemical reagent so that the targeted functionality could happen at a specific location and, to a desired degree, under specific conditions. To achieve a controlled and accurate agent release upon local and/or global stimulation, this project proposes to embed encapsulated chemistries into rationally designed materials that can program highly heterogeneous stress fields and thus, enable spatially controlled release of chemical agents upon well-defined mechanical stimulation (magnitude, direction). Such accurate release will enable local changes on demand and give access to the design of advanced functional materials with for example self-reporting, self-healing, and self-destructive adaptive functionalities.



The applicant must have a master’s degree in chemistry or polymer science. The candidate should also demonstrate a willingness to pursue interdisciplinary research involving molecular-scale and polymer synthesis, polymer processing, and the characterization of polymeric material properties. Research experience in organic and/or polymer synthesis and standard characterization techniques (NMR, IR, UV-Vis, and Fluorescence) is expected. Additional skills in engineering and material science would be advantageous. Excellent communication skills in English (written and oral) as well as having a team oriented /collaborative spirit are essential requirements.



·         Letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (2 pages max)

·         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)

·         Two recommendation letters with contact details of the referees

Please send your application in one PDF file only with the subject title “PhD position Capsule_SURNAME”. Your documents will not be returned after the application process. For this reason, please submit copies only. Applications with incomplete files will not be considered.  The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13. We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here


E-Mail address for the application:                         



Deadline for applications is October 17th. Project work will begin on as soon as possible.