Vacancy No. 02-2020

02-2020-IMT PhD Position on Cooperative Actuator Systems for Nanomechanics and Nanophotonics

Job description

So far, the vast majority of actuators for nanomechanical / nanophotonic switching and tuning is based on electrostatics, using either comb-drive or gap closing actuators. These actuators have in common that they require a large footprint exceeding 100 x 100 µm² in many cases, which results from limited effect size due to poor down-scaling. These limitations may be overcome by introducing novel nanoactuators based on shape memory alloy (SMA) films. SMA films exhibit highest work den-sities up to 107 Jm-3 and favorable down-scaling of actuation performance. Recently, an ultra-compact nanophotonic switch has been demonstrated having a footprint of only 1 x 1 µm².

The PhD thesis aims at the development and experimental investigation of novel bistable and multi-stable SMA-polymer actuator systems and their combination with silicon nano-technology for switch-ing and tuning of nanometer-scale silicon devices. A monolithic fabrication technology is required to achieve a high integration density. For micro/nano fabrication, the IMT operates a state-of-the-art clean room facility. In addition, advanced simulation tools and measurement equipment are available. The PhD thesis includes the following tasks:
• Characterization of material properties (structure, mechanical, thermal, magnetic)
• Micro- and nanofabrication technologies (optical and electron beam lithography, RIE)
• Modelling, design and simulation (FEM multiphysics, lumped element modelling)
• Characterization of demonstrator variants in a SEM (mechanical, optical, electrical properties)

Personal qualification

We are looking for ambitious, creative and self-motivated individuals, who like to work within an inter-disciplinary and international team. Your background covers one or several of the following topics: Micro/nano technologies, mechanical and electrical engineering, materials science. Experience in CAD, FEM simulation and MATLAB programming are of advantage.

Organizational unit

Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Starting date

on appointment

Contract duration

limited to 3 years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. M. Kohl, e-mail




Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 02-2020.
Personnel support is provided by 

Ms Gätcke
phone: +49 721 608-25010,

Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

If qualified, severely disabled persons will be preferred.