MaP Award

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Every year MaP awards a prize to the best interdisciplinary PhD thesis of ETH Zurich in the area of Materials and Processes.

MaP Award 2017

Many congratulations to Dr. Loredana Protesescu for winning the MaP Award 2017 for her PhD thesis on "Novel Luminescent Colloidal Nanocrystals and Studies on Nanocrystal Surface Chemistry" which she completed under the supervision of Prof. Maksym Kovalenko in the Functional Inorganic Group (CHAB)! The prize comes with an award of CHF 2500. Together with the other two finalists, Dr. Luca Hirt and Dr. Jessica Schulz, she presented the highlights of her PhD project on the occasion of the MaP Graduate Symposium.

The MaP Award Jury acknowledges the excellent works of all finalists!

Find out more about the candidates in their portraits below. More information about the MaP Award.

MaP Award 2017 finalists  
MaP Award 2017 finalists Dr. Jessica Schulz, Dr. Loredana Protesescu (winner) and Dr. Luca Hirt, together with MaP Director Prof. André Studart (second from left).

Nominees for the MaP Award 2017

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Dr. Luca Hirt, Biosensors & Bioelectronics (D-ITET)

Electrochemical Surface Patterning and Additive Manufacturing with FluidFM

 

MaP Award 2017 Finalist: Luca Hirt  
Luca Hirt

Short CV
Luca Hirt hails from Langenthal, Switzerland. He did his BSc in Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich, and obtained his MSc in Biomedical Engineering from the same institution in 2012. After short stays at CSEM AG in Landquart and the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, he pursued his doctoral studies at the Laboratory of Biosensors & Bioelectronics, under the supervision of PD Dr. Tomaso Zambelli. Recently, he co-founded the startup company nanoleq.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
We combined a traditional fabrication process (electroplating) with a modern unique tool (the FluidFM) to enable 3D printing of metals on the micrometer scale.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
I decided to work with the FluidFM because it is an elegant tool combining atomic force microscopy (AFM) with microfluidics. It is essentially a nanopipette with force-sensing capability, making it a versatile technology to answer a broad range of scientific questions. On the other hand, additive manufacturing is a fascinating technology which is still in its beginnings, especially at the micrometer scale, where the traditional fabrication processes are mask-based and thus time-consuming and expensive. A final deciding factor to do this project was the laboratory of biosensors and bioelectronics itself, which convinced me with its highly interdisciplinary projects and its vibrant scientific and social environment.

Future Plans
Our work demonstrated the potential of FluidFM for additive manufacturing on the micrometer scale. The technology will now be further developed, focusing especially on multi-metal printing, the printing of non-metallic materials and 3D printing of biological cells and tissues.

Dr. Loredana Protesescu, Functional Inorganic Materials (D-CHAB)

Novel Luminescent Colloidal Nanocrystals and Studies on Nanocrystal Surface Chemistry

 

MaP Award 2017 Finalist: Loredana Protesescu  
Loredana Protesescu

Short CV
Loredana Protesescu was born in Romania. She studied Biochemistry and holds a master degree in Chemistry of Advanced Materials from the University of Bucharest. In 2011, she joined the Functional Inorganic Materials Group at the Laboratory for Inorganic Chemistry, carrying out her PhD studies under the supervision of Prof. Maksym Kovalenko. Currently, Loredana is a Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, where she is studying new conductive metal organic frameworks – metal halide perovskite hybrid nanocomposites and their opto-electronic properties.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
This work aimed to fulfil the industry requirements for opto-electronic applications and therefore to develop new materials such as perovskite halide nanocrystals with superior photophysical quality from visible to near-infrared and also we targeted to push the limits of the quantum dots in mid-infrared choosing lead chalcogenides nanocrystals as emitters. The second part, equally important, was represented by the fundamental understanding of the nanocrystals at the atomistic level, which is highly interconnected with the device engineering development since the surface chemistry of the particles oftentimes dictate the quality of their optical properties.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
My PhD projects reflect the needs of every enthusiastic PhD student: the curiosity and the satisfaction to be able to develop new materials right with your own hands and to gain the tools to provide the fundamental understanding for important problems in the field such as surface chemistry of the nanocrystals.

Future Plans
My future career plans are focused on continuous development of my skills and knowledge in the material science and to be actively involved in the development of the opto-eletronic devices from the synthesis of the active materials to the device engineering and commercialization of the product. Currently, I am investigating the opto-electronic properties of the hybrid nanocomposites consisting of conductive metal organic frameworks and metal halide perovskite.

Dr. Jessica Schulz, Drug Formulation & Delivery (D-CHAB)

Improving Enzymatic Oral Therapies via Site-Specific Polymer Conjugation

 

MaP Award 2017 Finalist: Jessica Schulz  
Jessica Schulz

Short CV
Jessica Schulz grew up in Germany and obtained a BSc in Chemistry from the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg in 2010. In 2012, she gained a MSc in Chemistry from ETH Zurich and subsequently joined the Drug Formulation & Delivery Group at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich, where she completed her doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Jean-Christophe Leroux. Thereafter, she joined the World Health Organization in Geneva and a local NGO in Tanzania for temporary projects focusing on the undernutrition of children. Currently, Jessica is working as a Postdoc at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, where she is involved in Helminth Drug Development.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
Site-specific polymer conjugation is a tool not only to protect orally delivered enzymes from the harsh conditions in the gastro-intestinal tract, but offers the possibility to retain full activity by avoiding an interaction of the polymers with the active site of the enzyme. PEPs that can degrade gluten, the known trigger of celiac disease, have been successfully site-specifically conjugated with polymers retaining high activity and significantly higher stability in vivo compared to the wild-type enzyme.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
At Karl-Ruprechts University Heidelberg I was trained in basic chemistry causing curiosity to learn about interdisciplinary fields. After several research projects in different groups at ETH Zurich (D-CHAB and D-MATL), pharmaceutical science attracted me the most due to the combination of chemistry, biology and pharmaceutical knowledge and because it applies cutting edge research to health problems. I then took the opportunity to work on this challenging PhD project in the group of Prof Leroux, which convinced me due to its interdisciplinary content and its novel idea to protect orally delivered enzymes. Furthermore, I was attracted by the chance to be responsible for project design, in vitro and in vivo work, meaning that I designed the project’s outline, shaped it over time and finalized it by testing my compounds in an animal model. After four years of intensive work, I can truly tell that I took the right decision due to a steep learning curve and the possibility of building an expert knowledge that significantly shaped my career, and nevertheless due to my ongoing enthusiasm for research during the past years.

Future Plans
Currently, I am building my network in the scientific community of tropical diseases, getting further trained on fundamental research and clinical trials, and on the supervision of group members. Thereby, I am aiming to identify research needs in the field of drug development of neglected & tropical diseases and of human nutrition and its correlation to health to continue with my scientific career.

MaP Award 2016

We cordially congratulate Dr. Gianvito Vilé for winning the MaP Award 2016! He was awarded for his thesis "Design of New Nanostructured Catalysts for Selective Hydrogenations in Flow" which he completed under the supervision of Prof. Javier Pérez-Ramírez in the Laboratory of Advanced Catalysis Engineering (D-CHAB)! Together with the other three finalists, Dr. Ivo Leibacher, Dr. Arabella Mauri and Dr. Christian Peters, he presented the highlights of his PhD project at the MaP Graduate Symposium 2016. Congratulations to all four prize winners for their impressive achievements!

More information about the MaP Award.

MaP Award 2016 Finalists  
MaP Award 2016 finalists (from left to right): Arabella Mauri, Ivo Leibacher, Gianvito Vilé (winner) & Christian Peters, together with MaP Director Prof. André Studart.

Nominees for the MaP Award 2016

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Dr. Ivo Leibacher, Mechanics & Experimental Dynamics (D-MAVT)

Acoustophoresis of Cells, Core-Shell Particles, Disks and Droplets
 

MaP Award 2016 Finalist: Ivo Leibacher  
Ivo Leibacher

Short CV
Ivo Leibacher grew up in Zurich, Switzerland. He obtained a MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2010. After industrial internships in R&D departments both nationally and internationally, he joined the Group of Mechanics and Experimental Dynamics at ETH Zurich, where he carried out his PhD project under the supervision of Prof. Jürg Dual. Currently, he is working on an acoustic R&D project at EMPA.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
Microscopic particles can be moved and manipulated in a contactless fashion just by applying sound waves. This method called acoustophoresis has been studied in microfluidic chips for applications such as cell focusing, sorting, separation and rotations in a lab-on-a-chip context.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
This research topic offered various undiscovered topics to work on. The opportunity to discover and describe novel effects in matching experiments, numerical simulations and analytical theory was very appealing. I also enjoyed to teach students in mechanics exercises, and last but not least I was happy to team up with some study colleagues at a well-managed institute in the group of Prof. Jürg Dual.

Future Plans
I am looking forward to contribute as an engineer to technical solutions of society’s problems in industrial research & development project teams. Yet as in research, the future career always offers room for discoveries!

Dr. Arabella Mauri, Experimental Continuum Mechanics (D-MAVT)

Multiscale Mechanical Behavior of Fetal Membranes

MaP Award 2016 Finalist: Arabella Mauri  
Arabella Mauri

Short CV
Arabella Mauri grew up in Lugano, Switzerland. In 2011, she obtained her MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich. She carried out her PhD project in the Group of Experimental Continuum Mechanics at ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Edoardo Mazza. Currently, she is a product development engineer at DePuy Synthes in Switzerland where she is designing and developing implants and instruments for trauma surgeries.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
The experimental techniques and data analysis algorithms developed in this thesis represent an effective and comprehensive platform of macroscopic and microscopic tools that can be applied to other soft biological tissues, for instance liver capsule, cornea, tissue engineered grafts and collageneous gels. These tools help to develop physically based modeling approaches to represent the multiscale mechanical behaviour of soft biological tissues, and allow the possibility to address their deformation mechanisms at the cellular and tissue length scales.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
This PhD project gave me the possibility to work together with engineers, biologists and physicians to develop suitable prototypes, protocols and post-processing tools to address the multiscale mechanical behaviour of soft collageneous tissues experimentally and with different material modeling approaches.

Future Plans
At the moment I’m focusing on the translation of gained knowledge in specific products, which will bring the technological benefits directly to patients. In future, I plan to remain close to research and to industrial development, since I believe both are needed to achieve excellent innovation and eventually advance society.

Dr. Christian Peters, Micro and Nanosystems (D-MAVT)

Biodegradable Superparamagnetic Polymer Composites: From Material Identification to Device Application
 

MaP Award 2016 Finalist: Christian Peters  
Christian Peters

Short CV
Christian Peters hails from Magdeburg, Germany, where he studied Information Technologies and obtained his diploma with distinction from the Otto-von-Guericke University in 2010. After a pre-doctoral research project at the Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago, United Stated, he joined the Micro and Nanosystems Research Group at ETH Zurich and completed his doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Christofer Hierold. Currently, he serves as CTO of the microGauge Project, an ETH spin-off company in foundation concerned with the commercialization of next-generation vacuum pressure sensors.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
Developing a composite material from scratch allowed the creation of a material that unifies several desirable properties for future biomedical applications in vivo. Hydrogel components allow for bulk diffusion based drug delivery, spatially arranged magnetic nanoparticles enable efficient actuation, and degradable ester linkages permitted the development of the world’s first fully biodegradable magnetic composite microrobot.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
Throughout my studies and my research work, I have been engaged in many interdisciplinary research projects. Thus, the opportunity to forge nanotechnology, material development, and cleanroom processing with biology and device engineering for medical applications appeared as the ultimate challenge. Combined with the opportunity to propel the field of microrobotics towards in vivo applications, I felt that I would not only be engaged in an extremely challenging and interesting research project, but that I could also make an active contribution to future medical procedures that many people may benefit from.

Future Plans
I am not only a passionate researcher and engineer, but also an entrepreneur at heart. As CTO of the microGauge Project, I am able to combine these three interests. Together with two other post-doctoral researchers, we are currently founding the company and are hopeful to establish a successful ETH spin-off company.

Dr. Gianvito Vilé, Advanced Catalysis Engineering (D-CHAB)

Design of New Nanostructured Catalysts for Selective Hydrogenations in Flow
 

MaP Award 2016 Finalist: Gianvito Vilé  
Gianvito Vilé

Short CV
Gianvito Vilé was born in Italy. He studied Chemical Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, and he was visiting student at the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, and at ETH Zurich. After his MSc degree in 2011, he joined the Laboratory of Advanced Catalysis Engineering at the Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering of ETH Zurich, carrying out his PhD studies under the supervision of Prof. Javier Pérez-Ramírez. Currently, he is an R&D engineer at Sensirion and scientific guest at ETH Zurich.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
This research has originated from the practical need to replace existing catalytic materials which were used for more than six decades in hydrogenation processes, but posing nowadays major environmental and economic concerns due to the presence of noxious compounds (such as lead) and to the poor atom utilization. By employing the most advanced synthetic methods and cutting-edge characterization and evaluation tools, three new families of materials have been discovered and rationalized, showing that the classical strategy of metal poisoning can be brought to a new dimension at the atomic scale.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
When I finished my Master degree, I decided to apply for a PhD project that could combine skills in materials chemistry, nanotechnology, and process engineering. The group of Advanced Catalysis Engineering was an obvious choice due to the multidisciplinary approach applied in the design of heterogeneous catalysts and reactor concepts for challenging reactions. I learned a lot from the tight collaboration with theoreticians and experimental surface scientists in academia and industry. Working in a field that aims at providing the scientific and technological foundation for making cleaner, safer, and more efficient the chemical production could not have been more fascinating.

Future Plans
I believe that other fields can also benefit from new catalyst designing strategies. Currently, I am investigating the use of functionalized and single-atom catalysts in other technologically-relevant applications, ranging from nanoelectronics to drug discovery.

MaP Award 2015

Dr. Sinead Griffin is the winner of the MaP Award 2015! She was awarded for her thesis "From the early universe to the Hubbard Hamiltonian in the hexagonal manganite". Dr. Deniz Bozyigit, Dr. Alexandre Larmagnac and Dr. Martin Süess are recognized for their excellent theses as finalists of this year's award. Congratulations to all four prize winners for their excellent work!

finalists of MaP Award 2015
MaP Award 2015 finalists (from left to right): Deniz Bozyigit, Alexandre Larmagnac, Martin Süess and Sinead Griffin (winner)

Nominees for the MaP Award 2015

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Dr. Sinead Griffin, Materials Theory (D-MATL)

From the early universe to the Hubbard Hamiltonian in the hexagonal manganites
 

Short CV
Sinead Griffin grew up in Dublin, Ireland. She obtained a BA (Mod) in Theoretical Physics from Trinity College Dublin, an MSc, DIC in Quantum Field and Fundamental Forces from the Imperial College London and an MS in Materials Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then earned her Doctoral degree from the Department of Materials at ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Nicola Spaldin. Currently she is continuing her postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
The physics of the very large (the Big Bang) and the very small (multiferroic materials) were brought together through the formation and understanding of topological defects in a range of multiferroic materials, verifying an early-universe theory in a crystal for the first time. This gave a universal understanding of domains, domain walls and defects in these particular multiferroics, and allowed the design of a related new material that harbors potential exotic superconductivity.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
Searching for and verifying an early-universe theory in the laboratory was an incredibly exciting and fun process! The opportunity to collaborate and discuss with scientists ranging from cosmologists and string theorists to experimental condensed-matter theorists and chemists gave me a unique breadth of experience across the whole scientific discipline. Moreover, it showed me how a material scientist can both benefit from and contribute to fundamental sciences and cutting-edge discoveries in different fields of research.

Future Plans
I wish to continue to see what other cross-fertilizations can benefit physics and materials science. Currently I am investigating novel and fundamental physics in functional and technologically-relevant materials.

Dr. Deniz Bozyigit, Nanoelectronics (D-ITET)

Understanding performance limitations of semiconductor nanocrystal-based optoelectronic devices

Short CV
Deniz Bozyigit was born in Istanbul and obtained his high school diploma in Germany. He studied Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich and obtained his MSc in 2010. Subsequently he did a PhD at ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Vanessa Wood at the Laboratory for Nanoelectronics. Until recently he was a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Wood's group and is currently starting as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Keith Nelson at MIT in Cambridge.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
I have investigated and identified the physical processes that limit the efficiency of LEDs and solar cells made from novel nanocrystalline semiconductors. Based on the findings I have proposed new routes to optimize such devices.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
The work on nanocrystalline semiconductor devices continues to excite me, because it strongly integrates different fields of science including quantum- and semiconductor-physics, organic-, inorganic-, and electro-chemistry, and electronic device engineering. At the same time the LED and solar cell devices and the improvement of their efficiencies have direct application in everyday life.

Future Plans
I plan to continue to work on the physics of novel materials with a focus on processes that are relevant for the real life applications of such materials. In particular I plan to focus on the use of advanced spectroscopic techniques.

Dr. Martin Süess, Nanometallurgy (D-MATL)

Highly strained Si and Ge micro- and nanobridges for micro- and optoelectronic applications
 

Short CV
Martin Süess was born in Lucerne, Switzerland. In 2010 he obtained his MSc in Materials Science from ETH Zurich. His PhD was completed jointly at ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen under the supervision of Prof. Ralph Spolenak from the Department of Materials. Currently, he is working as a postdoctoral fellow in the group for Quantum Optoelectronics (Prof. Jérôme Faist), designing and fabricating multi-color quantum cascade lasers for a compact 10-gas sensing system.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
Semiconductor strain technology is an interesting approach to optimize device properties in order to cope with the slowed Moore's law. During my PhD I was part of a team developing and exploring a method to reach record strain in semiconductors, which would either boost their performance or allow them to be used in completely new ways.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
When I started, the project was focused on approaches involving multi-quantum well structures. I was coming from a master thesis about transmission electron microscopy on semiconductors, which I enjoyed very much and so I wanted to expand and deepen my experience. Fortunately, with that background and motivation I was a good fit for the material characterization task of the project. However, after about half a year in the project, the original approach was completely abandoned and shifted towards the micro- and nanobridges. So my original motivation did actually no longer apply, since electron microscopy was no longer a big part of the project and I was even considering to quit. But then the new direction started to evolve and opened a huge scientific playground with fascinating physics. So I decided to keep going, start from scratch and I have never regretted that decision.

Future Plans
In my current postdoc work, I’m learning about device fabrication and simulation. My ambition is to combine the strain engineering approach with device fabrication on other materials besides Si and Ge, which would allow to access new ranges of device properties and performances.

Dr. Alexandre Larmagnac, Biosensors & Bioelectronics (D-ITET)

Novel neuroprosthetic devices for spinal cord stimulation in paralyzed animals

Short CV
Alexandre Larmagnac hails from France. He obtained an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering from the Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité, France and in Biomedical Engineering from ETH Zurich in 2008. He then joined the Laboratory for Biosensors & Bioelectronics at ETH Zurich, where he carried out his PhD project under the supervision of Prof. Janos Vörös. Currently, he is working on focus tunable lenses as a product development engineer at Optotune AG, Switzerland.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
This PhD project investigated the use of conductive composite elastomers and processes for the fabrication of a novel type of miniature neuroprostheses with unmatched mechanical properties that enabled for the first time chronic epidural electrical stimulation in mice. Our process allowed us to pattern 3D structures of nanowire-based composite electrodes on the micron scale with unprecedented level of control over their electrical properties, which is important for applications like stretchable displays or solar panels.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
When I left France to join the Master of Biomedical Engineering at the ETH Zurich, I told my friends about my dream to make paraplegic people walk again. Two years later, I actually was offered the opportunity to design the implants that will restore locomotion in paralyzed animals and maybe one day in patients. I surely said yes!

Future Plans
I am now gathering experience in industry on how to successfully transform an idea into a viable product with high impact on society. I am particularly interested in the use of stretchable electronics for the design of revolutionary products.

MaP Award 2014

The MaP Award 2014 goes to Dr. Rafael Libanori for his thesis "Bioinspired composites with controlled alignment and distribution of anisotropic reinforcing particles". We would also like to congratulate the three runners-up, Dr. Matthias Muoth, Dr. Johannes Haberl and Dr. Martina Hitzbleck for their excellent work and presentation.

finalists of MaP Award 2014
MaP Award 2014 finalists (from left to right): Matthias Muoth, Martina Hitzbleck, Rafael Libanori (winner) and Johannes Haberl

Nominees for the MaP Award 2014

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Dr. Rafael Libanori, Complex Materials (D-MATL)

Bioinspired composites with controlled alignment and distribution of anisotropic reinforcing particles

Short CV
Rafael Libanori hails from Brazil, where he studied Chemistry (BSc) and Materials Science and Engineering (MSc) at the Federal University of São Carlos. After his graduation in 2009, he joined the laboratory for Complex Materials at the Department of Materials at ETH Zurich, where he carried out his PhD project under the supervision of Prof. André R. Studart. Currently, he is continuing his work as a postdoctoral researcher in the same group.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
This PhD project investigated the directed-assembly of platelet-reinforced composites that incorporate some of the design principles found in the underlying microstructure of natural materials. Such approach allowed us to fabricate high-performance artificial composites with an unprecedented level of control over their microstructures.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
At the time when I was concluding my Master degree, I had already decided to apply for PhD projects with topics related to fundamental science or applied materials chemistry. However, during the interview for this PhD position, I realized how fascinating is the research on bio-inspired materials: the multidisciplinary approach and the challenge for the implementation of design principles on artificial composites, which have been ceaselessly fine-tuned by natural selection through millions of years to optimize the mechanical performance of biological materials, were certainly the main reasons that led me to choose this project.

Future Plans
My plan is to continue working on the research and development of advanced composites for structural and energy-related applications. In the future, I would like to add a little touch of chemistry to the design of bio-inspired composites so that their mechanical performance can be improved even further.

Dr. Johannes Haberl, Food and Soft Materials (D-HEST)

Magnetic liquid-crystalline elastomers

Short CV
Johannes Haberl grew up in Schrobenhausen, Germany. He studied Chemistry at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg i. Br. During that time he spent a semester at the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris. He then specialized in Macromolecular Chemistry and graduated in 2010 with Prof. Finkelmann to join the ETH in Zurich, where he earned his Doctoral degree from the Department of Health, Science and Technology under the supervision of Prof. Raffaele Mezzenga. Currently he is working in the Material Science Department at the Goodyear Innovation Center in Luxembourg.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
A smart material was synthesized which couples the permanent magnetic properties of shape anisotropic nanospindles to the elastic properties of liquid-crystalline polymer networks. Mechanic deformation and light stimulation, both are used to control the macroscopic magnetic properties of this soft elastomer.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
At the interphase of fundamental research and applied science this project offered a huge variety of challenging topics from organic, inorganic and polymer chemistry to liquid crystals, networks and magneto-physics. Moreover, I had the chance to work in the dynamic spirit of an international group with cross-functional cooperations, embedded in the infrastructure of ETH and located in a great city.

Future Plans
Working at the border of fundamental and applied science has become a welcome challenge for me in order to achieve sustainable innovation.

Dr. Martina Hitzbleck, Biosensors & Bioelectronics (D-ITET)

Advanced Capillary-driven Microfluidic Chips for Diagnostic Applications

Short CV
Martina Hitzbleck was born in Heiligenhaus, Germany. In 2009 she obtained her MSc in Physics from RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Her PhD was completed jointly at the Laboratory for Biosensors & Bioelectronics at ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Janos Vörös and in the Experimental Biosciences Group at IBM Research-Zurich under Dr. Emmanuel Delamarche. Currently, she is working in the Sensor Innovation Team at Sensirion AG, Switzerland.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
In analogy to traditional biochemical analysis where reagents are manually mixed and dosed in a lab, a network of hydrophilic microchannels can perform liquid handling and biochemical reactions in a pre-programmed way. During my PhD I developed multifunctional microfluidic networks, which are particularly interesting for medical diagnostics, because they enable a doctor to scan for antigens or bacterial infections in a patient´s blood sample faster and more precise while consuming less reagents than current technologies.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
The idea of understanding solid-liquid interactions on a fundamental level and using these insights in the development of real applications fascinated me and was a good fit with my background in solid state physics and biomolecular interactions. Furthermore, the PhD project was embedded in an EU funded project involving experienced researchers at universities, research institutions, diagnostic companies, hospitals and chip manufacturers, which resulted in a very interdisciplinary and exciting atmosphere to work in.

Future Plans
As a next step, I want to gather experience in industry and understand the challenges of taking a fundamental concept from research to a final product on the market, with visible use for our society.

Dr. Matthias Muoth, Micro and Nanosystems (D-MAVT)

Clean Integration of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes for Electromechanical Systems

Short CV
Matthias Muoth was born in Zug, Switzerland, and received his Matura in Zofingen. He studied Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich and obtained his MSc in 2007. Subsequently he did a PhD at ETH Zurich under the supervision of Prof. Christofer Hierold in the field of carbon nanotubes. Currently he is a postdoc in Prof. Hierold's group of Micro and Nanosystems.

Your PhD project in 2 sentences
Fabrication processes for carbon nanotube transistors were developed and enabled ultraclean gas sensors as well as mechanically strained devices. The measured piezoresistive response of strained transistors combined with molecular structure assignment allowed confirming theoretical predictions for nanotubes acting as displacement and force sensors.

Why did you choose this PhD project?
The opportunity to develop processes for nano-scale devices and learn more about microscopy has been very appealing. Moreover, knowing the ambitious group of Prof. Hierold from student projects, I have been looking forward to join his group working in a well-equipped research environment.

Future Plans
From concepts to innovations: I am looking forward to becoming a member of a product-oriented team within industrial research and development.

 
 
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25.06.2017
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