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PhD position: Investigation of chain dynamics in branched polymers by computer simulation and neutron scattering

Advertising institute: JCNS - Jülich Centre for Neutron Science
Reference number: D046/2014, Physics, Chemistry

A PhD position is offered at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science on the dynamics in branched polymer systems. The aim of this PhD project is to perform a systematic investigation of the chain dynamics in branched polymers by combining computer simulations and neutron scattering. This combination of neutron scattering techniques with computer simulations of microscopically detailed models of polymers is a powerful methodology for the investigation of complex dynamic processes in polymers.

The first half of the PhD project will take place in San Sebastián (Spain) at the Materials Physics Center of San Sebastián. Several representative branched architectures will be investigated by simulations of a bead-spring model. The study will be focused on branch point motion and dynamic tube dilation. The effects of the asymmetry of the structure, molecular weight of the star arms, and number of arms per star, which affect dramatically tube dilation and hence the mobility of the branch point during arm relaxation, will be explored systematically. Quantitative comparisons with hierarchical tube models will be made.

The second half of the PhD project will take place at the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science, outstation at MLZ, Garching/Munich (Germany). After the determination of suitable systems by simulation, neutron spin echo spectroscopy will be performed on selected star polymers equivalent to those simulated in the first step. Experimental and simulation results will then be critically compared.


The candidate should be interested in problems of polymer physics, and particularly in combining both theoretical and experimental work. The applicant should have an MSc in Physics (preferred) or Chemistry, with background in condensed matter physics and physical chemistry. Skills on programming will be highly esteemed.
The allotted PhD thesis period is limited to 3 years in total. The final degree will be from the University of Münster, Germany.

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women. We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Please send applications (preferably via E-mail) including a curriculum vitae and exam results to:

Dr. Michaela Zamponi (