Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

PhD Scholarship in Friction on the Molecular Scale

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

A 3-year PhD scholarship in experimental studies of friction on the molecular scale is available at the Department of Chemistry. The project will be under supervision of Professor Esben Thormann and is starting at September 1st or as soon as possible hereafter.

Responsibilities and tasks
The PhD project will focus on atomic force microscopy (AFM) based investigations of the different energy dissipating mechanisms associated by sliding hydrated polymer films against each other. The overarching goal of this project is to separate the energy dissipating contribution from direct molecular interactions between the two slide interfaces from the dissipative processes occurring internally in the polymer films. Secondly, we will seek to design systems with controlled and tuneable friction by use of switchable physical cross-linkers and tuneable wettability. Thus, the project is of interdisciplinary nature and will include preparation of polymer films, design and preparation of physical experiments, instrumental calibration, data processing and theoretical considerations for data interpretation.

The successful candidate should have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) in physical chemistry, nanotechnology, physics, soft matter or equivalent. However, independent of the educational background, the right candidate should have the logical mind-set of a physicist but without being afraid of chemistry. Experience with AFM, friction studies, polyelectrolyte films, scripting (e.g. in MATLAB) and surface science in general will be an advantage but is not a requirement. 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, +45 4525 2439, email:

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

Please submit your online application no later than 15 July 2019 (local time).

Apply at

Interested candidates are encouraged to send their application as early as possible as the applications will be evaluated continuously as the 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)

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.