PhD position: Correlating redox properties of organic materials with triboelectric charge-separation – from basic understanding to novel materials for efficient triboelectric energy harvesting

The Excellence Cluster Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS) welcomes applications for a

PhD position: Correlating redox properties of organic materials with triboelectric charge-separation – from basic understanding to novel materials for efficient triboelectric energy harvesting

Part-time position (65 %), Start-date: At the earliest possible date.

The Cluster of Excellence 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.

Project Description
Charge separation at interfaces is the mechanism underlying the triboelectric effect. This can be exploited to harvest mechanical energy from the surroundings in functional materials systems. In this project novel organic materials will be developed to make triboelectric charge separation more efficient with the ultimate goal to increase the performance of triboelectric nanogenerators used for energy harvesting. This will be preceded by a fundamental study on the effect of the redox activity of organic moieties on triboelectric charge separation by atomic force microscopic (AFM) studies, as well as theoretical investigations (QC) into the physical origins of the charge separation. The results of these fundamental studies will allow selecting the best organic moieties for incorporation into materials (i.e. polymers), which will then be synthesized and used in macroscopic devices to investigate the triboelectric charge separation at their interfaces.

The position is located at the Institute for Organic Chemistry at the University of Freiburg (group of Prof. B. Esser), and the project will be carried out in close collaboration with the Institute for Physical Chemistry (Dr. B. Balzer) and the Technical Faculty (Prof. P. Woias, Prof. J Rühe, Prof. M. Moseler, Dr. M. Walter).

Expected Candidate Profile

  • Master’s degree in Chemistry, ideally with a specialization in Organic Chemistry
  • Experience in organic synthesis and characterization techniques is required
  • Experience in polymer chemistry, electrochemistry and/or materials chemistry is advantageous
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • High motivation, good organizational skills, eagerness to work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary international team

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 TV-L 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 00001110, by 05.10.2020 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Freiburger Zentrum für interaktive Werkstoffe
und bioinspirierte Technologien (FIT)
Dr. Monika Schulz
Georges-Köhler-Allee 105
D-79110 Freiburg
Kennwort: livMatS

(please send one PDF file only)
For further information, please contact Frau Prof. Dr. Birgit Esser on the phone number +49 761 203-6072 or E-Mail

Job posting on the University of Freiburg website: