PhD position in piezoelectric ceramics design and characterization

DTU Energy

Do you want to contribute to a new way of designing and fabricating materials?

Many ceramic materials are highly anisotropic, such that their properties are much higher in some grain directions. However, we are yet not utilizing this to the full potential in combination with the shape control 3D printing now allows for. With a Villum Young Investigator grant funded by VILLUM FONDEN, we will try to understand how to simultaneously optimize both shape and grain orientation of ceramics, with piezoelectric ceramics for energy harvesting as the test case.

We now have an opening for a PhD-student for modelling and characterization of piezoelectric ceramics. The objective of this project is to investigate the optimum configuration of shape and microstructure of piezoelectric ceramics for energy harvesting. Your tasks will be a combination of design of shape and microstructure via considerations of anisotropy of the piezoelectric response and finite element modelling, and then a thorough piezoelectric and dielectric characterization of fabricated ceramics to validate the design. Another PhD project running in parallel focusses on developing the fabrication routes of the ceramics via 3D printing, but some fabrication might be required also in this project. You will be a part of a research team of 3-5 people working on similar methods and technologies (additive manufacturing and microstructure design, fabrication and characterization), within a larger environment at DTU Energy and DTU working with piezoelectric and electrostrictive materials.

You must have:  

  • A two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in Materials Science, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, or similar, or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • The ability to work independently with a strong drive, to plan and carry out complicated tasks
  • Interest in contributing positively to a new research group with a collaborative and diverse culture
  • A creative mindset for solving problems and identify new directions and opportunities in your project.

We highly value (but do not require) experience within several of these areas:

  • Piezo-, ferro- and dielectric materials
  • Vibrational/mechanical energy harvesting
  • Shaping and sintering of functional ceramics
  • Microstructural, structural and functional characterization of materials, e.g. SEM, EBSD, AFM, PFM, x-ray diffraction, impedance analysis, dielectric spectroscopy.
  • Scientific computing and programming, e.g. with MATLAB
  • Finite element simulations, e.g. with COMSOL

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Astri Bjørnetun Haugen along with chosen team members.

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 DTU's rules for the PhD education.

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 terms of employment
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.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The expected starting time is during the fall of 2022, latest 15 December 2022. The position is for 3 years.

Further information
In case you have further questions, please contact Associate Professor Astri Bjørnetun Haugen (+45 21560919,

Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, only online applications as described below will be considered.

You can read more about DTU Energy at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 20 July 2022 (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). Please write explicitly how your background covers the requirements and any of the desired areas of experience, and why you are motivated for this specific position.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale.

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

Applications 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 Energy is focusing on functional materials and their application in sustainable energy technology. Our research areas include fuel cells, electrolysis, solar cells, magnetic refrigeration, superconductivity and thermoelectrics. Additional information about the department can be found at

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 13,400 students and 5,800 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.