PhD Autonomous Actuators for Adaptive Architecture and Soft Robotics

The Cluster of Excellence livMatS develops completely novel, life-like 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.

The livMats Cluster of Excellence is offering the following PhD research position for the project

Autonomous Actuators for Adaptive Architecture and Soft Robotics

Envisaged start date is 01.11.2022

Project description
This project aims to generate materials systems based on multistimulus responsive actuators. As such, you will develop actuators that respond - depending on the details of the system - to changes in humidity, temperature or magnetic fields. The developed systems will be heavily inspired by nature, especially plants, which respond for example to humidity (pine cone), water drops (silver thistle), or light (sunflower). The actuators will be generated using CHic chemistry previously developed by our group. The actuators will be written using 2Photon Crosslinking (2PC), a maskless technique also based on CHic chemistries.

Candidate profile
Suitable candidates must have a Master's Degree in Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Microsystems Engineering. This position requires a high proficiency in spoken and written English. Successful candidates will also be able to work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team. Experience in synthetic polymer chemistry, polymer characterization and mechanical analysis is advantageous.

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. This position is limited to 36 months. The salary will be determined in accordance with E13. 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 00002451. Application deadline is 15.09.2022. Application is to be emailed as ONE MERGED PDF File to

Direct all scientific questions about the project to Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rühe at