Empa - the place where innovation starts
Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH
Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the
well-being of society.
The Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles is seeking one
Ph.D. Student to work on Wearable Luminescent Solar Concentrators
In our research group, we study the interaction between optically active
molecules and polymers and control their nanoscale arrangement. This is
achieved by polymer synthesis (hydrogels, amphiphilic polymers, and
nanocomposites) and their functionalization with chromophores and
fluorophores. We target the design of smart materials for optical sensors,
light-controlled drug delivery systems, and solar energy harvesting devices.
Project Background : One method to ameliorate the disadvantages of
flexible solar cells (FSC) is the use of luminescent solar concentrators
(LSC). Such materials absorb sunlight and convert it to the wavelength that
is optimal for the SC, creating a geometric and spectral concentration of the
light. In addition, LSC work under diffuse or artificial light or partial
shading. Although rigid LSCs have been investigated for building-integrated
SCs for 30 years, research into textile-based, flexible, and portable LSCs is
at the beginning.
Our group has been developing fiber- or membrane-based LSCs that can be
integrated with FSC. We employed amphiphilic polymer co-networks (APCNs). We
incorporated hydrophilic and hydrophobic dyes in the corresponding domains and
used the high interfacial area and close domain-domain distances to induce
high energy transfer between dyes that are otherwise immiscible. FRET
efficiencies of up to 60 % were observed, with a total energy transfer
efficiency of about 99 %. The material was attached to wearable solar cells,
helping to increase the power conversion efficiency of dye-sensitized solar
cells by up to 84 %.
Project description : In this project, we will continue the research
described above. It will contain both a scientific and an applied research
component. We want to further investigate the energy transfer among
fluorophores in APCNs, including the use of quantum dots and perovskites. We
will study the effect of APCN formulation and morphology on its mechanical,
adhesive, and optical properties, and how it steers the energy transfer. The
project will also be dedicated to investigating demonstrators of wearable
LSCs, by integrating the best-developed materials with flexible solar cells.
Candidate profile: The candidate should have a strong background in
Materials Science or Chemistry. We are looking for a highly motivated person
capable of working in a multidisciplinary environment, driven by scientific
curiosity, and open to learning new topics. The Ph.D. candidate needs to be
proficient in spoken and written English and have a Master's degree. S/he will
participate in writing scientific publications and presenting data at national
and international scientific conferences. Previous experience in one or more
of the following topics is required: LSCs, polymer networks, aluminosilicate
nanoparticles, fluorescence lifetime, FRET.
The work will be carried out at Empa St. Gallen under the supervision of Dr.
Luciano F. Boesel. The PhD student will be affiliated at ETH Zürich (Prof.
For further information about the position please contact Luciano Boesel
firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our websites www. empa.ch/web/s401 and Empa-
We look forward to receiving your online application including a letter
of motivation, CV, diplomas with transcripts, a letter of motivation and
contact details/addresses of two referees. Please upload the requested
documents through our webpage. Applications via email will not be considered.
Empa, Esther Zürcher, Human Resources, Lerchenfeldstrasse 5, 9014 St. Gallen,