PhD scholarship in Phase-field Modelling of Piezoelectric Materials

Friday 17 Sep 21

Apply for this job

Apply no later than 1 November 2021
Apply for the job at DTU Energy by completing the following form.

Apply online

If you are interested in computational modelling of physical systems and want to help realize a novel micro-scale sustainable energy-conversion technology, this PhD project is for you.

At DTU Energy we are starting a research project where we will use computer simulations to investigate the behavior of piezoelectric materials with the goal of improving their performance. Piezoelectric materials exhibit a coupling between electric and elastic phenomena. This means that applying an electric potential causes the material to deform, or vice versa: applying a mechanical force causes the material to generate an electric field and hence a current. As such, they are already used in a number of applications either as actuators or as power generators, especially for miniaturized devices, e.g Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

It is known that the performance of piezoelectric materials is determined by several features of their microstructure, e.g. size and shape of their crystal grains or presence of inclusions. However, in this project we investigate a yet unresolved question: how can we optimize the microstructure such that the best performance is achieved? To answer this question we will use phase-field modelling: an elegant mathematical formalism that can predict the behavior of the material at the micro- and nano-scale.

At DTU we developed a state-of-the-art phase-field simulation framework MagTense which can be used to model magnetic or electric effects at the micro-scale, as these are substantially analogous from a mathematical point of view. However, the framework is currently not able to handle the coupling with mechanical effects, which is required to describe piezoelectric phenomena. As part of your project, you will therefore develop the mathematical model to include this class of interesting physical effects in the existing modeling framework. Subsequently, you will use it to explore the relation between microstructure and performance of piezoelectric materials and devise ways to micro-engineer the microstructure to enhance the performance.

In the course of this project, you will become expert in different exciting physical phenomena that are relevant to green-energy technologies. Moreover, you will master a mathematical modelling technique, i.e. phase-field models, that has numerous applications in various scientific and technological areas. The project also involves a collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan, which you will visit for a few months as part of your PhD. There, you will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge by collaborating with world-leading experts in nano-scale modelling.

Qualifications
Qualified applicants must have:

  • two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in physics, astronomy, mathematics, computer science, engineering, chemistry or similar.
  • Interest in modelling techniques and programming/scientific computing, preferably some experience with Matlab and/or Fortran.
  • Interest in the theories of electrostatics and elasticity of continuum media.
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated tasks, and to be a part of a large, dynamic group.
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and spoken.

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.

The expected starting date is the winter of 2021/2022. We are flexible with the exact starting time.

Further information
Please contact Assistant Professor Andrea Roberto Insinga, +45 21 18 03 16, aroin@dtu.dk or Professor Rasmus Bjørk, +45 46 77 58 95, rabj@dtu.dk.  

Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

You can read more about DTU Energy at www.energy.dtu.dk.

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 1 November 2021 (Danish time).

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)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

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

DTU Energy
The Department of Energy Conversion and Storage is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, electromechanical converters, sustainable synthetic fuels, and batteries. The Department, which has more than 200 employees, was founded in 2012. Additional information about the department can be found on www.energy.dtu.dk

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.