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PhD student position in experimental fluid dynamics in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Zurich, temporary

The research in the newly established group examines both fundamental and applied questions in various small-​scale multiphase fluid phenomena, such as bubble and droplet dynamics and the resulting fast flows. One of our key objectives is to control bubble oscillations to exploit their energy-​focusing characteristics. We also develop experimental techniques to observe and characterise high-​speed multiphase fluid phenomena optically and acoustically. The group is part of the , which pursues a broad range of experimental, numerical and theoretical research efforts in a friendly and inclusive environment with state-of-the-art infrastructure.

Project background

Bubbles injected into the bloodstream and driven into oscillations with sound waves have numerous applications in biomedical imaging and therapy. These micrometric bubbles are stabilised against dissolution and coalescence by an encapsulating shell, and used as contrast agents in ultrasound imaging. When harnessed correctly, the interesting mechanical and chemical effects associated with their strong oscillations and collapse can be exploited in therapeutic procedures, including drug delivery and thrombolysis. Understanding and controlling their behaviour is essential for minimising unwanted off-target damage and making potential bubble-assisted therapies safer and more precise. However, modelling efforts are challenged by the complexity of the dynamics of these microbubbles due to their deformations, the mechanics of their shell, and the interactions between them, among other factors. We aim to tackle these challenges with the help of idealised experiments.

Job description

We seek to appoint a PhD student to conduct experimental research addressing open questions on cavitating microbubbles harnessed for biomedical applications. Particular focus will be given to the characterisation and prediction the collapse dynamics of ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles under high-amplitude acoustic excitation. You will design your own experimental setup exploiting the state-of-the-art ultra-high-speed imaging and acoustic facilities available in our lab. In addition to research, you will contribute to teaching activities in the institute.

Starting date: 1 September 2020, or earlier. Negotiable.

Duration of appointment: Maximum 4 years.

Your profile

The requirements include a Masters degree in mechanical or aeronautical engineering, physics, or in a related field. You should be curiosity-driven, creative, open-minded and independent, and have good communication skills, fluency in English and the willingness to fully commit yourself as a part of an international team. You should also have strong interests in experimental fluid mechanics, multi-phase flows, acoustics, and similar. Experience in experimental research is an advantage, but not necessary.

ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

For more information on our group and on the Institute of Fluid Dynamics, visit the website () or contact the group leader, Prof Outi Supponen via email at outis@ethz.ch (no applications).

To apply for this position, submit a motivation letter (1-2 pages) explaining your interests, your CV, diploma transcripts (BSc/MSc) from which the grades are evident, and the names and addresses (including email) of three references. Applications must be submitted using the online tool, not by e-mail.

The screening of applications will start on 1 June 2020, and applications are accepted until the position is filled.

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