Research Position: Design of materials for electromagnetic shielding

Location: Belgium
Application Deadline: 31/05/2024
Published: 1 month ago

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The research project will be performed in the Soft Matter Rheology and Technology (SMaRT) section in the Chemical Engineering Department at KU Leuven under the supervision of Prof. Ruth Cardinaels. The research in the SMaRT group is mostly of experimental nature and aims at designing methodologies for intelligent process or product (formulation) design using so-called “complex fluids” or “soft matter”. Extensive state-of-the-art and home-built experimental facilities for the characterization of mechanical properties in the liquid state (bulk as well as interfacial rheology), combined with various techniques to characterize microstructure development during flow are available. Moreover, the lab is equipped with all major types of commercial 3D printing devices as well as several in-house adapted devices. Dielectric and electromagnetic properties can be characterized in the low frequency as well as high frequency region.

For many applications, polymers have substantial advantages as compared to other materials, e.g. they are light-weight, flexible, easy to process and corrosion-resistant. By blending multiple polymers together or adding conductive or magnetic nanoparticles, multiple functionalities can be incorporated into one material. However, the resulting properties are strongly dependent on the dispersion and distribution of the nanoparticles as well as the phase morphology. Multiphasic structures are of particular importance since the microstructure can act as a template to tailor the particle distribution by means of selective localization. The types of morphologies that can be realized with traditional processing methods are however limited. In our on-going ERC Starting grant project, novel polymer nanocomposite structures are developed for electromagnetic  shielding, using 3D printing and other innovative processing techniques. To strengthen our team, we are currently offering a research position (PhD/post-doc) specifically dedicated to the design of these structures via numerical simulations. Depending on your background, there will be a strong collaboration with experimental researchers or the possibility to perform combined numerical-experimental research.


-You are recently graduated or will soon graduate with a master (when applying for a PhD position) or PhD (when applying for a postdoc position) degree in materials science, electrical engineering, physics or a related discipline.

-You have excellent analytical skills, high grades and you are a creative and critical thinker.

-You have prior experience in numerical research on electromagnetic or dielectric properties of materials. Expertise in electromagnetic characterization is a plus.

-You are able to report your progress in an accurate and timely fashion.

-You have excellent communication skills, with fluency in both written and spoken English.

-You are open for collaboration with the other team members.


–  Full-time PhD position for four years with a competitive salary and additional benefits such as health insurance, access to university sports facilities, etc. OR a full-time post-doc position for one year with a competitive salary, with possibility for extension.

–  The opportunity to work and live in one of the most innovative universities and cities in Europe. Leuven is located 20 min from Brussels, in the centre of Europe.

–  International working environment and possibility to present your work on international conferences.

–  Your research will form part of an ERC-funded starting grant project, involving a team of 4 researchers working on the development of electromagnetic metamaterials.

–  Your research will be embedded in a world-renowned research group consisting of 5 faculty members active in the area of soft matter, rheology, technology and functional materials.

–  A state-of-the-art infrastructure.

–  For PhD students: To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will participate in the Arenberg Doctoral School doctoral training program.


Candidates can apply by submitting their CV, motivation letter and grade lists via the online application tool. Please also include the names and contact details of at least two senior researchers that are willing to write a letter of recommendation upon request.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled, hence do not wait with applying until the deadline.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Ruth Cardinaels, tel.: +32 16 32 16 88, mail:

KU Leuven strives for an inclusive, respectful and socially safe environment. We embrace diversity among individuals and groups as an asset. Open dialogue and differences in perspective are essential for an ambitious research and educational environment. In our commitment to equal opportunity, we recognize the consequences of historical inequalities. We do not accept any form of discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnic or national background, skin colour, religious and philosophical diversity, neurodivergence, employment disability, health, or socioeconomic status. For questions about accessibility or support offered, we are happy to assist you at this email address.

Do you have a question about the online application system? Please consult our FAQ or email us at

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