PhD Student in Reliability of lead-free polar oxides in transducer applications (M/F)

Reference : MRT-2017-003

Type: PhD Student
Contract type: Fixed term contract
Duration: 12 months (+24 months + potentially 12 months extension)
Place: Belvaux



Applications of polar oxides in transducer application typically focus on near-equilibrium regions where the response to an external stimulus is nearly linear and shows as little hysteresis as possible. At the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the ‘Ferroic Materials for Transducers’ (FMT) group develops applications of polar oxides under non-equilibrium conditions, particularly focusing on electrocalorics and thick-film piezoelectrics. Here, the materials are driven with very high electric field and/or close to a first-order phase transition or a relaxor-ferroelectric transition. These non-equilibrium driving conditions are likely to lead to new degradation and failure mechanisms, but there are few systematic studies on these mechanisms available.




The two main objectives to this work are:

  • Understanding short-time failure / breakdown of films compared to bulk samples
  • Evaluating degradation mechanisms under long-time non-equilibrium cycling

To reach these goal, the candidate will produce bulk polar oxide samples via a powder route and films via a sol-gel route using spin coating, focusing on lead-free materials and supported by the LIST powder lab and chemical lab. He/she will measure the electro-mechanical, structural and microstructural properties, develop application-relevant fatigue scenarios, and observe the degradation in properties during fatigue. Support is available by the MRT Characterization Platform. The candidate will analyse the data and improve existing degradation models based on the experimental results. As usual, the candidate is expected to support valorisation of the results by presentations at scientific conferences, peer-reviewed publications or, where applicable, patents.





  • Master degree or equivalent in Materials Sciences, Solid State Physics, Crystallography, Materials Chemistry or a related field


  • Experience in the fabrication of metal oxide ceramics or the electrical/mechanical characterisation of piezo- or ferroelectric polar oxides is a considerable advantage
  • Knowledge about other characterization techniques (SIMS, Raman, XRD, SEM etc.) is helpful, but not essential
  • A track record of publications (e.g resulting from the Master thesis) would underline the candidate’s quality 


  • Fluent English (spoken and written) is mandatory, French and/or German is a plus


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Dr Torsten GRANZOW

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