PhD Studentship in Experimental Physics at University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge, UK is inviting excellent students to apply for a PhD position. This position is available for 4 years. Applicants should apply before January 01, 2019.

A fully-funded PhD studentship (to start on 1 Oct 2019) is available in the Department of Physics to investigate the physical properties, and design applications of new liquid-crystalline vitrimer actuators. Liquid crystalline elastomers (LCE) are an amazing class of materials that show spontaneous (equilibrium) shape change of up to 500%, produced on heating, or light exposure. They also have the unique property of ‘soft elasticity’ when some shear deformations proceed without elastic resistance, which in turn leads to their remarkable properties in damping and dissipation of mechanical energy. In spite of all that, in the last 20 years there was almost no progress in application of `LCE actuators’ in technology (and there were good reasons for that).

Our group have been the recognised world-leaders in the field for all that time; recently, we’ve made a breakthrough in the material design utilising the concept of ‘vitrimers’ (you may need to Google some of these keywords to get a better grasp). There is a large ERC grant supporting this research, and two new chemists (a PhD student and a postdoc) are making these new materials, which we now need to study and design clever applications for: things like a light-driven motor, a tactile Braille display, a heliotracking filament, or a fabric woven from actuating fibres are all on our list, but it will certainly expand.

This project is suitable for a candidate with a good first degree (Masters pass) in Physics, Physical Chemistry or Materials Science. The successful candidate would have interests, and preferably some experience in mechanics and statistical physics, as well as being able to design and carry out mechanical and rheology experiments.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years.

Informal enquiries should be made in the first instance to Professor Eugene Terentjev (

The formally apply for admission is made at It is important that when submitting the application, you mention the BSS research group and the name of Prof. Terentjev in the form. When submitting the application, please also notify Prof. Terentjev through email.


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