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PhD project: Modeling late stages of spin-coating

Offer type: thesis topic
Salary range: > 25,000 and < 35,000€ annual gross
begin: 15/03/2011
Recruiting organization: Universität Freiburg / IRTG-Soft Matter Science
Workplace: Freiburg, Germany; exchanges with Strasbourg, France
Skill area: Physics

You are a physicist and you are looking for an international PhD project in Soft Matter Science?
The “International Research Training Group (IRTG) - Soft Matter Science: Concepts for the Design of Functional Materials”, a new interdisciplinary research and training programme between France and Germany is made for you.

What is the IRTG on Soft Matter Science?
This IRTG brings together chemists, physicists, engineers and biologists from Freiburg, Strasbourg, Mulhouse and Basel to advance the knowledge in the field of soft condensed matter and to develop concepts for the design of innovative materials with a high level of functionality. All research projects are bilateral and, taking advantage of the geographic proximity, all PhD students enrolled in this programme have the opportunity to realize their research project in Germany and France through short- and long-term visits at the partner university. Regular meetings, courses and workshops are organized.

Subject of the thesis: Modeling late stages of spin-coating
Supervisors: A. Blumen (Freiburg) / J. Baschnagel (Strasbourg)
Collaborators: H. Meyer (Strasbourg), F. Ziebert (Freiburg/Strasbourg)

Research project and collaborations:
Spincoating of dilute polymer solutions onto substrates is a powerful technique that allows the deposition of thin polymer films of nanoscopic dimensions. It is used in numerous technological applications, e.g. for protective coatings of surfaces, microelectronics, lubrication and others. However, the structure and the properties of such glassy polymer films produced by rapid evaporation of the solvent (“solvent quench”) are poorly understood theoretically as the polymer structure is frozen-in into out-of-equilibrium configurations which appear to be hard to relax even by long annealing at elevated temperatures.

Together with experiments done in the experimental polymer physics group in Freiburg, the aim of the thesis will be to undertake statistical (continuous time random walk) and simulation (molecular dynamics) studies to investigate the properties of spin-coated films and their relaxational behavior.
Questions to be addressed involve:
Is the film homogeneous in the plane? What is the inhomogeneous structure in the normal direction? Is stress induced by the out-of-equilibrium production process that might affect the film stability? What governs the dynamics inside the thin film, both of the polymers and the residual solvent as a function of temperature and solvent concentration? Specific predictions will be tested by the experimental group to finally establish a theoretical model that makes testable predictions about experimentally controllable factors which are important for the spin-coating process.

Candidates profile:
Who can apply?

* Applicants should hold a master's degree (or equivalent) in physics with excellent grades. They should have a good knowledge of statistical physics and already some experience with numerical/simulation methods.
* Applicants should have a strong interest to expand their horizon beyond the specific field of their major.
* Applicants should have proficiency in English as all teaching will be in English.
* We particularly encourage women to apply.

Contact: Please send ONE pdf file comprising your CV, a short summary of your Master thesis, your Master/Diploma certificate (with grades), contact information of former advisors and a brief letter justifying your interest in this thesis to
with copy to fziebert@gmail.com
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