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PhD Position available: “Crystallization of individualized macromolecules” | Leipzig University

Miniaturization is an ongoing trend in modern technology which promises enhanced technologies such as microscopic sensors or molecular machines. These developments require a profound knowledge of the materials properties on the nanoscale since many materials behave very different if reduced to the level of very few or individual molecules.

This PhD project will cover fundamental questions on polymer crystallization and focus particularly on the impact of reduced sample volumes down to individual polymer chains. This will be achieved by a cutting-edge method, which combines nano-structured electrodes and nano-patterned surfaces, to employ dielectric spectroscopy on an ensemble of individualized macromolecules. Topographical characterization of the samples also involves regular atomic force microscopy. The project is embedded in the collaborative research center CRC TRR 102 which joins the forces of leading experts in the field of polymer science and particularly polymer crystallization. This stimulating environment offers many occasions for fruitful exchange and scientific collaborations.

The position has a duration of until June 30, 2023.

Requirements:

  • Master degree in physics
  • fundamental knowledge in soft matter physics and spectroscopic techniques during studies
  • delicate sample preparation is no obstacle because of the candidate’s extraordinary manual skills
  • for the data analysis, some basic programming skills are recommended
  • previous experience in dielectric spectroscopy and/or atomic force microscopy are helpful.

To apply in first instance, please email a motivation letter, an up-to-date CV and your certificates of graduation including a transcript of your courses to Dr. Martin Treß (), Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics, Leipzig University. The application deadline is extended to March 31, 2020.

PhD Position available: Effects of topological constraints in polymer melts on crystallization and structure formation | Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

PI / Contact Person, Affiliation:
Prof. K. Saalwächter, Prof. T. Thurn-Albrecht
Institut für Physik, Martin-Luther-Univ. Halle-Wittenberg,
NMR group:

Project or job description
The goal of the project is the study of the effect of the constraints exerted by the topological structure and dynamics of the entangled polymer melt on the crystallization and on the semi­cry­stalline morphology of polymers. Using a number of model materials such as linear polymers with different crystallization properties, and mixing short and long entangled chains, the process of structure formation and the resulting semicrystalline materials are investigated in a systematic way. We combine small-angle x-ray scattering and spin diffusion NMR (structure formation), optical microscopy (crystalli­zation kinetics), DSC (thermodynamics), and rheology and solid state NMR (molecular dynamics). Special emphasis is given to the properties of the amorphous fraction of the semicrystalline materials, for which our previous work has evidenced an unexpectedly important role.
For the next stage of the project, which is a close collaboration with another doctoral student focusing on non-NMR techniques, we are seeking a doctoral candidate working on sample preparation (isothermal crystallization) and characterization by various NMR techniques. This involves lineshape analyses and exchange NMR to characterize crystalline dynamics, spin-diffusion techniques for domain size estimation, and other more specific techniques such as multiple-quantum NMR to study the dynamics in the amorphous phase.

Requirements / Restrictions for applicants
The successful candidate should have a Master degree or equivalent in Chemistry or Physics, and some knowledge of NMR spectroscopy and polymer / soft-matter physics. We certainly require profound command of mathematical concepts and some computer programming knowledge as expected from a major in physical chemistry or physics.

Further information / Latest publications
M. Schulz et al., The Underestimated Effect of Intracrystalline Chain Dynamics on the Morphology and Stability of Semicrystalline Polymers. Macromolecules 51, 8377 (2018)
R. Kurz et al., Interplay between Crystallization and Entanglements in the Amorphous Phase of the Crystal-Fixed Polymer Poly(ϵ-caprolactone). Macromolecules 51, 5831(2018)

Please also check our internet page at www.physik.uni-halle.de/nmr for more information on other projects and publications.

Please apply via web portal:
https://blogs.urz.uni-halle.de/irtgpolymers/application/

Entry date is flexible between February 2020 and late Summer 2020.


PhD Position available: Effects of topological constraints in polymer melts on crystallization and structure formation | Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

PI / Contact Person, Affiliation:
Prof. T. Thurn-Albrecht, Prof. K. Saalwächter
Institut für Physik, Martin-Luther-Univ. Halle-Wittenberg,
Experimental Polymer Physics Group:

Project or job description
The goal of the project is the study of the effect of the constraints exerted by the topological structure and dynamics of the entangled polymer melt on the crystallization and on the semi­cry­stalline morphology of polymers. Using a number of model materials such as linear polymers with different crystallization properties, and mixing short and long entangled chains, the process of structure formation and the resulting semicrystalline materials are investigated in a systematic way. We combine small-angle x-ray scattering and spin diffusion NMR (structure formation), optical microscopy (crystalli­zation kinetics), DSC (thermodynamics), and rheology and solid state NMR (molecular dynamics). Special emphasis is given to the properties of the amorphous fraction of the semicrystalline materials, for which our previous work has evidenced an unexpectedly important role.
For the next stage of the project, which is pursued in close collaboration with another doctoral student focusing on NMR techniques, we are seeking a doctoral candidate working on sample preparation and characterization by scattering techniques as well as investigation of mechanical properties.

Requirements / Restrictions for applicants
The successful candidate should   have a Master degree or equivalent in Chemistry or Physics, and some knowledge   of scattering techniques and/or mechanical properties and polymer /   soft-matter physics. We require profound command of mathematical concepts and   good experimental skills and some computer knowledge. We are looking for dedicated candidates capable of doing systematic   and independent work who are willing to collaborate within the group and with   other projects.

Further information / Latest publications
M. Schulz et al., The Underestimated Effect of Intracrystalline Chain Dynamics on the Morphology and Stability of Semicrystalline Polymers. Macromolecules 51, 8377 (2018)
R. Kurz et al., Interplay between Crystallization and Entanglements in the Amorphous Phase of the Crystal-Fixed Polymer Poly(ϵ-caprolactone). Macromolecules 51, 5831(2018)

Please also check our internet page at Please also check our internet page at www.physik.uni-halle.de/fachgruppen/polymer_physics_group/ for more information on other projects and publications. for more information on other projects and publications.

Please apply via web portal:
https://blogs.urz.uni-halle.de/irtgpolymers/application/

Entry date is flexible between February 2020 and late Summer 2020.


PPhD Position available: Substrate-induced molecular order and nucleation in thin films of semicrystalline polymers | Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

PI / Contact Person, Affiliation:
Prof. T. Thurn-Albrecht
Institut für Physik, Martin-Luther-Univ. Halle-Wittenberg,
Experimental Polymer Physics Group:

Project or job description
The aim of the project is the investigation of crystallization at the interface solid - polymer melt on a microscopic level. For that purpose, we perform structural investigations of thin films or droplets of semicrystalline polymers on well-defined substrates by AFM, optical microscopy and scattering methods. Interface induced crystallization can happen either via heterogeneous nucleation or via prefreezing. While we have acquired some fundamental knowledge of prefreezing during the last few years [1-3], we want to extend our investigations in the next stage of the project to heterogeneous nucleation and to the kinetics of interface-induced crystallization.

Requirements / Restrictions for applicants
The successful candidate should have a Master degree or equivalent in Physics or Chemistry, and some knowledge of polymer / soft-matter physics. Experience with AFM techniques or X-ray scattering would be an advantage. We require profound command of mathematical concepts and good experimental skills and some computer knowledge.
We are looking for dedicated candidates capable of doing systematic and independent work who are willing to collaborate within the group and with other projects.

Further information / Latest publications
[1]  Löhmann, A. K.; Henze, T.; Thurn-Albrecht, T. Direct observation of prefreezing at the interface melt-solid in polymer crystallization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2014, 111 (49), 17368-17372.
[2] Dolynchuk, O.; Tariq, M.; Thurn-Albrecht, T. Phenomenological Theory of First-Order Prefreezing. J Phys Chem Lett 2019, 10, 1942-1946
[3] Flieger, A.-K.; Schulz, M.; Thurn-Albrecht, T. Interface-Induced Crystallization of Polycaprolactone on Graphite via First-Order Prewetting of the Crystalline Phase. Macromolecules 2018, 51 (1), 189-194

Please also check our internet page at Please also check our internet page at www.physik.uni-halle.de/fachgruppen/polymer_physics_group/ for more information on other projects and publications. for more information on other projects and publications.

Please apply via web portal:
https://blogs.urz.uni-halle.de/irtgpolymers/application/

Entry date is flexible between February 2020 and late Summer 2020.


PPhD Position available: Mechanism of amyloid aggregation of the parathyroid hormone in complex environments | Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

PI / Contact Person, Affiliation:

Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology,
Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Project or job description
Amyloid peptides have the inherent ability to form non-native, amyloidogenic structures which lead to the formation of long, insolvable and stable fibrils and are related to wide-spread neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer disease. The natural environment in which these fibrils develop is the heterogeneous confinement of a cellular surrounding.
In order to gain understanding of the overall fibrillation mechanism, we study transient aggregates, which  characterize the early aggregation and  the onset of fibrillation. The goal of the project is to reveal the mechanism of  nucleation and growth and to study the impact of an outer confinement on the aggregation. As the formation of a fibril is a common property of many proteins, the results of the study are expected to be of broad interest and use.
With regards to methods, this study will set its focus on single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy in combination with X-ray scattering and basic biochemical and biophysical techniques

Requirements / Restrictions for applicants
The successful candidate should have a Master degree or equivalent in Physics or Life Science, and some knowledge in biophysics / soft-matter physics. We certainly require profound command of mathematical concepts and some computer programming knowledge as expected from a major in natural sciences.

Further information / Latest publications
Wägele J., De Sio S., Voigt B., Balbach J., Ott M. How fluorescent tags modify oligomer size distributions of the Alzheimer-peptide. Biophys. J. 116, 227-238 (2019)
Gopalswamy, M., Kumar, A., Adler, J., Baumann, M., Henze, M., Kumar, S.T., Fändrich, M., Scheidt, H., Huster, D., Balbach, J. Structural characterization of amyloid fibrils from the human parathyroid hormone. Biochem. Biophys. Acta, 1854, 249-257 (2015)
Roos, M., Ott, M., Hofmann, M., Link, S., Rössler, E., Balbach, J., Krushelnitsky, A., Saalwächter K., Coupling and Decoupling of Rotational and Translational Diffusion of Proteins under Crowding Conditions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 10365–10372 (2016)
Owen, M. C. Gnutt, D. Gao, M. Wärmländer, S. K. T. S. Jarvet, J. Gräslund, A. Winter, R. Ebbinghaus, S., Strodel, B. Effects of in vivo conditions on amyloid aggregation. Chem. Soc. Rev., 48, 3946-3996 (2019)

Please also check our internet page at https://blogs.urz.uni-halle.de/mariaott/ for more information on other projects and publications. for more information on other projects and publications.

Please apply via web portal:
https://blogs.urz.uni-halle.de/irtgpolymers/application/

Entry date is flexible between February 2020 and late Summer 2020.


PhD Openings for Active Matter Research

We open two PhD positions within a joint experimental/theoretical project, hosted at the Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences of Leipzig University, Germany, as part of a recently granted German–Czech (DFG–GACR) research collaboration: one for the optical control and analysis of Brownian machines and active-particle swarms, and one for related theoretical work on the dynamics and thermodynamics of active matter.

Active matter includes flocks of birds, swarms of insects, ensembles of robots, and colonies of bacteria. We are seeking two highly motivated PhD candidates with a Master’s degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry with excellent English proficiency. Successful candidates will perform cutting edge research on the dynamics and non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamics of these systems, with a main focus on many-body effects and confining environments, in a close collaboration between theory and experiment. They should therefore be committed to collaborative and interdisciplinary work, and have excellent oral and written communication skills (records of creative and independent scientific research and active participation in its dissemination in peer-reviewed journals are welcome). Prior experience with stochastic dynamics (Brownian motion, stochastic thermodynamics, large deviation theory, Langevin and Fokker–Planck equations) and a strong background in analytical and/or pertinent simulation/numerical methods would be useful for the theorist. Experience with modern optical microscopy and tweezers techniques and image and time-series analysis, which will be employed to control and study active-particle swarms and microscopic thermodynamic machines, would be useful for the experimentalist.

The theoretical work will be performed in the Soft Condensed Matter Theory Group at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (Leipzig) under the guidance of Prof. Klaus Kroy and Dr. Viktor Holubec (Department of Macromolecular Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic). The successful applicant will be able to perform some of the work in Prague and to gain deep knowledge in physical modeling (both numerical and analytical methods), stochastic analysis, and non-equilibrium statistical physics. The experimental work will be performed in the Molecular Nanophotonics Group at the Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics (Leipzig) under the guidance of Prof. Frank Cichos and allow the successful applicant to acquire expert skills and knowledge on innovative micro-optical multi-particle manipulation and detection techniques as well as on machine learning algorithms applied to active particle detection and control.

The working language is English. Salaries will be according to DFG standards.

Applications including 1) a letter of interest (max. 1 page), clearly stating the specific motivation of the candidate to join the group, work on this project, career goals, etc., 2) a CV, 3) grade transcripts or equivalent record of excellent academic performance, clearly indicating courses taken and grades in each course (for MS and BS), 4) the names of at least two consenting referees should for the theoretical part of the project be sent to and and for the experimental part of the project. to Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Further open postdoctoral positions

Further open PhD student positions


Fomer positions

Please find an overview of former job postings here.

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