Vacancy No. 16-2020

16-2020-IMT PhD Position on Automated chemical synthesis platform compatible with NMR spectroscopy

Job description

Material scientists face the challenge of identifying new materials with desired functions from a vast chemical space. Automated chemical synthesis approaches are beginning to reach sufficient maturity such that the burden on the synthetic chemist assigned to generate the molecules is reduced.
The over-arching hypothesis of this project is automated information extraction from analytical data can be used to inform and guide an in-loop chemical synthesis platform to drive the production of a desired chemical/material property. Such a closed-loop automated system will enable high-throughput, efficient material creation and discovery. The objective of this project is thus to implement an automated chemical synthesis system that will produce samples to be analyzed on-line or in-line by NMR spectroscopy. To accomplish this objective, the following tasks will be addressed:

  • Identification of unit operations of a model chemical reaction. Systems capable of typical chemical reaction unit operations (e.g. mixing, heating, aliquoting, etc.) must be identified and their control under an automation routine must be implemented.
  • iImplementation of minimal functioning platform. Once individual unit operations have been implemented, a platform integrating these operations will be designed and built. The operation of the platform will be validated using the model chemical reaction.
  •  Optimization of the chemistry / information extraction from spectroscopic data using machine learning / interfacing synthesis platform with NMR spectrometer. After demonstration of the functioning platform, extension of the project in one (or more) directions is possible. The direction taken in this task will depend on the experience gained in the previous 2 tasks as well as the particular interests of the researcher.    
Personal qualification
  • M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering or equivalent
  • Enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary environment
  • Experience in at least two of the following: automation, robotics, programming (e.g. python), machine learning, chemical synthesis, NMR spectroscopy
Organizational unit

Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT)

Starting date


Contract duration

limited to 3 years

Application up to


Contact person in line-management

For further information, please contact Dr. Neil MacKinnon, e-mail


Please apply online using the button below for this vacancy number 16-2020.
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.