PhD: Improving printed organic thermoelectric energy harvesters via multiscale morphological ordering.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
December 02, 2022
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PhD: Improving printed organic thermoelectric energy harvesters via

multiscale morphological ordering.

(ref. BAP-2022-723)

Last modification : Wednesday, October 5, 2022

This work will be performed at the FMolina-Lopez group, within the “Surface and Interface Engineered Materials” unit at the Department of Materials Engineering of KU Leuven, and under the direct supervision of Prof. F. Molina- Lopez.

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Project

Thermoelectrics (TEs) are energy harvesters that convert heat into electrical energy and vice versa. Among the different classes of TE materials, organic TE materials present the advantages of being non-toxic, abundant, printable and mechanically flexible. Therefore, organic thermoelectrics (OTEs) are perfect candidates to power wearable autonomous sensors integrated in smart textiles or even in direct contact with the skin. Such systems can find multiple applications in biomedicine and sports. However, organic thermoelectrics suffer currently from low performance. Their performance depends not only on the material itself, but also on the way their molecules are arranged in the solid phase. The goal of this project is to define a systematic approach to find the best molecular structure, doping, and solid-state arrangement to boost the thermoelectric performance of thermoelectric polymers.

Profile

We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate to develop and characterize printable organic thermoelectric materials with high performance. Methodologies will be stablished to fabricate thin films of customized polymers, engineer their doping, characterize their molecular structure, and measure their electrical and thermal properties. Routes based on printing electronics techniques will be developed for the integration of such materials on a flexible substrate. The candidate must write scientific publications, present at international conferences, and participate in patents. She/he must also contribute to grant writing to develop her/his skills as an independent researcher. She/he will lead international collaborations when needed.

The candidate must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Having a master in Applied Physics or Engineering focused on experimental work in electronic/energy materials, ideally organics. Knowledge of thermoelectrics is a big plus.
  • Experience working in a chemistry lab.
  • Hands-on experience in chemical, morphological and electrical characterization of materials, ideally soft materials. Familiarity with thermal characterization is a plus.
  • Solid theoretical knowledge in two or more of the following fields: nano/microfabrication, wearable electronics, printing electronics, organic electronics, thermoelectric materials or devices, polymer processing and characterization, material thermal characterization, materials electronic characterization, transport phenomena.
  • Willingness to navigate an interdisciplinary and fast-paced working environment.
  • An international profile with experience working in different countries is desirable.
  • Fluency in spoken and written English is mandatory. Minimum required: IELTS of 7 (no subscore below 6.5) or TOEFL of 94 (no subscore below 22).
  • Other: please feel free to highlight it in the motivation letter.
  • Offer

    The position includes competitive salary, medical care, and funding for research and conference expenses for 4 years.

    We offer an exciting environment where to thrive as an independent researcher. KU Leuven ranks among the top 50 universities in the world (top 11 in Engineering in Europe) according to the "Times Higher Education" ranking 2022 and ranks #7 (top in Europe) in the "World's Most Innovative Universities" ranking elaborated by Reuters. KU Leuven offers an exciting multi-disciplinary research environment, top-notch facilities, and a broad range of training courses for staff.

    Located in Belgium, at the heart of Europe, and less than 3 hours by train from Paris, London or Amsterdam, Leuven is a cultural and historical city with a vibrant international student lifestyle.

    Learn more about the group!

    Interested?

    For more information, please check our group website: https: // www. molina- lopezresearchlab.com or contact Prof. Francisco Molina-Lopez (francisco.molinalopez@kuleuven.be) with the subject “PhD position”.

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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