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Advertising division: ICS-8 - Bioelectronics
Reference number: 2019M-037, Materials science, engineering, microsystems technologies

Master thesis project: Development of stretchable and transparent holey electrodes on polymer substrates

At the Institute of Bioelectronics (ICS-8) at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers perform joint research on the scientific principles of the functional link between biological components and electronic components. This collaboration has led to the development of platforms for microfluidics, micro- and nano-patterning, and electronic biosensors. These technologies are not only developed to understand biological processes, but also pave the way for their application in sensor technology and diagnostics. With the advertised position we are planning to strengthen our research efforts to understand the biophysics of neuronal information processing.

Job Description:
With the aim to characterize neuronal networks, to diagnose, and to treat medical diseases, one of the research fields in our institute is the development of penetrating neural implants for in vivo applications targeting the brain and the retina. However, different physical and biological challenges have to be addressed before the intended application becomes feasible. One important issue to overcome is the mechanical mismatch between the tissue and the neural probes, as current standard materials used to fabricate such probes are mostly rigid and boost immune responses that cause the failure of the implant. Hence, thin layers of flexible and soft polymers such as polyimide, parylene-C, and silicon rubber are being implemented in the fabrication of such implants, making them more akin to the nervous tissue. Despite the flexibility, softness, and transparency gained when using polymers, the conductive layer of the electrode array still remains rigid and opaque, resulting in crack formations and limiting its use with different optical modalities. Therefore, with the purpose to have a full compliant neural implant, a strategy using stretchable holey electrodes on polymer substrates is proposed. In this project, the student is expected to establish the fabrication steps of the holey electrodes on different polymer substrates, applying techniques such as colloidal lithography and photolithography. Likewise, the project comprises optical and mechanical characterization methods like UV-VIS spectrophotometry, bending, and tension/compression tests, as well as the direct comparison of the holey structures with other stretchable geometries, such as the serpentine structures.

Your Profile:

  • Student of material science, engineering, microsystems technologies or similar
  • Bachelor student with similar experience are welcomed to apply
  • Cleanroom experience
  • Ability to communicate with scientists and technicians from various disciplines
  • Well-structured and systematic research approach
  • Independency
  • Passion for science

What We Offer:

  • Multifaceted work in an interdisciplinary and international setting, as well as a cooperative work environment;
  • Fantastic research equipment facilities;
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich located close to the interface between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and with strong links to the ABCD Region (Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf) which is one of the leading high-tech regions in Europe.

Contact:
If you are interested, please, send your CV and academic transcripts to Prof. Andreas Offenhäusser (e-mail: a.offenhaeusser@fz-juelich.de). For further information please contact Prof. Offenhäusser or visit our website at http://www.fz-juelich.de/ics/ics-8.