PhD scholarship in Functional polyelectrolyte interfaces

mandag 28 jun 21

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Frist 31. august 2021
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A 3-year PhD scholarship in experimental studies of polyelectrolyte brush layers and their ice adhesive properties is available at the Department of Chemistry. The project will be under supervision of Professor Esben Thormann and the position is available from October 15th, 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The PhD project will focus on how the chemical structure of monomers and different types of counterions can be used to tune the swelling behaviour of polyelectrolyte brushes and how these properties can be used to reduce the binding strength of ice to the layers. The project will thus contain a part focusing on synthesis of polyelectrolyte brush layers, a part focusing on the physicochemical characterization of the brush layers and finally a part focusing on studies of ice association. A special focus will be on a new class of polyelectrolytes termed poly(ionic liquid)s. Poly(ionic liquid)s are polyelectrolytes which feature an ionic liquid cation or anion in the repeating monomeric units. One unique property of these polymers is their apparent relative hydrophobic character despite their high charge density, which suggests that their structure and functionality are sensitive to both physical stimuli and the chemical environment. Together with the fact that these polymers contain bulky side group, the structural and mechanical properties of dense layers of poly(ionic liquid)s will thus be controlled by both hydrophobic inter-chain attraction and steric inter-chain repulsion, in addition to electrostatic and osmotic pressure effects which are dominating for conventional polyelectrolytes.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree in physical chemistry, polymer chemistry, soft matter or equivalent.

Candidates who have experience with synthesis of polyelectrolytes, surface grafting techniques and/or characterization techniques like AFM, QCM-D and ellipsometry will be preferred. The candidate should further be highly motivated, able to work independently and should be confident in both written and spoken English. The applicant should strive towards scientific excellence, be ambitious and hard working. Only applicants with great talent, who seeks to be among the brightest in their field, will be considered.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Esben Thormann, tel.: +45 53828118, email:

You can read more about the Group of “Polymers and Functional Interfaces” at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Please submit your online application no later than 31 August 2021 (Danish time). Interested candidates are encouraged to send their application as early as possible as the applications will be evaluated continuously as they come in.

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.