Vacancy No. 24-2019

24-2019-IMT PhD Position: Re-Programmable 3D Micro Matter using Self-Folding Origami

Job description

Programmable matter is a new emerging concept that is based on self-folding origami. The initial planar system is composed of interconnected sections (tiles) that self-fold into a set of predetermined shapes using embedded shape memory actuators and magnetic latching. Thus, multiple 3D shapes with multiple functions can be realized, which has been demonstrated at the macro scale so far. The PhD thesis intends to transfer this concept into microtechnology by combining state-of-the art meth-ods of micromachining, multifunctional materials as well as coupled simulation. Re-programmable micro matter will enable formation and multistage adaptation of 3D shape at different length scales as well as reusability by reversible active unfolding. A monolithic fabrication route will be essential to realize many tiles with high integration density.

Your tasks
This interdisciplinary work focuses on self-folding and self-unfolding origami based on cooperative bi-directional actuation at large bending angles up to 180°. Further challenges are the selective multi-stable latching and release of many tiles at the micro scale. For micro fabrication, the IMT operates a state-of-the-art clean room facility. In addition, advanced simulation tools and measurement equip-ment are available for structural, thermal and mechanical characterization. The PhD thesis includes the following tasks:
• Characterization of material properties (structure, mechanical, thermal, magnetic)
• Modelling, design and simulation (FEM multiphysics, lumped element modelling)
• Fabrication technologies (optical lithography, 3D printing, laser technology)
• Development of control strategies
• Characterization of demonstrator variants (thermo-mechanical, 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: Microtechnology, mechanical and electrical engineering, materials science, control. Experience in cleanroom technologies, CAD, FEM simulation and MATLAB programming are of advantage.

Organizational unit

Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Starting date

as soon as possible

Contract duration

limited to 3 years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

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


Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 24-2019.
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.