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Doctoral researcher in electrically and thermally conducting bio-based fabrics for smart textiles

The Department of Applied Physics is now looking for a

Doctoral researcher in electrically and thermally conducting bio-based fabrics for smart textiles

A cross-disciplinary team at Aalto University is looking for a doctoral researcher (Ph.D. candidate) for the Department of Applied Physics to work on conducting lignocellulose fabrics for smart textiles.

The work is done in a project that is part of the FinnCERES Flagship “Redefining the Bioeconomy With advanced bio-based materials” ( In the project, we aim to produce multi-functional conductive bio-based fabrics through an eco-friendly and scalable graphene-based coating without using metals and unsafe chemicals. The target is to achieve good tensile strength, hydrophobicity, fire retardancy, electrical and thermal conductivity, and durability. The research aims to create new opportunities to fabricate high-value-added bio-products, including washable smart textiles with built-in sensors.

Electrically conducting textiles are needed in virtually all eTextile applications. While the project contributes to the development of conducting textile materials in general, the focus is first on electro-thermal applications. The project develops conductive inks containing safe carbon-based materials such as graphene and a suitable polymeric binder. Coated on fabrics, such polymeric conductive coatings do not restrict the bending and flexibility of textiles and resist several cycles of washing and abrasion.

Your role and goals

You will study the functional properties of the coated fabrics and their performance experimentally and theoretically, evaluating the results in view of potential applications. Using structural, electrical, and thermal measurement techniques, including thermal and microscopic imaging you learn to understand how the properties of the materials in the conductive textiles translate to their macroscopic electrical and thermal properties. With your results, you get to provide feedback for improving the material formulations and fabrication methods used in the project.  You will develop knowledge and skills to analyze the electrothermal results with device physics modeling based on the physical properties of the yarns, coatings, and fabrics (structural, electrical, thermal). You will learn hands-on research skills by designing and building measurement rigs for testing the electro-thermal performance of the coated fabric samples for different applications. You will also develop skills to evaluate the technological potential of smart bio-based materials for practical applications and to innovate new applications.

Based on your results, you are expected to write and co-author peer-reviewed journal papers which contribute to the fulfillment of the requirements for a doctoral degree and give conference and seminar presentations. You are also expected to participate in advising B.Sc and M.Sc thesis workers or other student projects on the research topic.

Working group

The working group includes experts from material science, chemistry, and physics. Your focus will be on the physics aspects. You will be affiliated with the New Energy Technologies group at the Department of Applied Physics, School of Science, and supervised by University Lecturer Dr. Janne Halme. You will work in close collaboration with the Textile Chemistry group of Prof. Ali Tehrani, School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems.

Janne Halme is a University Lecturer in the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University. He is a researcher and educator on new energy technologies and solar energy with interests in interdisciplinary research, entrepreneurship education, sustainability, and innovation. His main research field is solar energy physics and engineering, especially colored and printed photovoltaics. Most relevant to this project is his expertise in device physics and performance modeling of energy conversion devices, like photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical cells, impedance spectroscopy, stability studies, and device simulation. He has recent experience with e-textile research from Sun-Powered Textiles project funded by Business Finland (Co-Innovation). Aalto research profile:

Ali Tehrani is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems (BIO2) at Aalto University with an educational background in Textile Chemistry and Fiber Science. He is currently leading the Textile Chemistry group at BIO2 which is developing green textile coloration and functionalization. He has worked on several research projects in textile coloration, applied surface chemistry, and electrospun nanofibrous membranes. His recent research work on conductive graphene-based polymer composites, which is published in six peer-reviewed scientific publications, is the ground proof of concept for the project related to this position. Aalto research profile:

Your experience and ambitions

  • Master’s degree in physics, materials science, materials engineering, electrical engineering, or equivalent on a topic of relevance. Alternatively, proof that the applicant will have their master’s thesis submitted before the start of the contract.

  • Master’s degree GPA above 3.5/5 (or equivalent, required to enter the doctoral program).

  • Experience in carrying out independent project-based work and working in a highly collaborative environment

  • Capacity to ideate, plan and perform high-quality scientific research.

  • Experience in electrical or thermal measurements or modeling of materials or devices either from projects or studies.

  • Interests in ideating and developing new industrial applications for functional materials.

  • Very good command of the English language, both spoken and written.

We appreciate broad experience in electrical and thermal measurement techniques, especially thermal imaging applied to materials research. Interest and capacity for both theoretical and experimental work are benefits, although the tasks can also be aligned with the person’s best abilities and interest in skills development. We appreciate the genuine interest in application-driven scientific research and the commercialization of research results. The selection is based on the candidate’s suitability and the benefit to the project team, meaning that in addition to academic performance, we want to find a person whose interests and personality are a good fit for the team. We encourage especially females and other applicants from minority backgrounds to apply.

We offer

  • High-end laboratory facilities and friendly colleagues.

  • A research community that values bold, innovative research.

  • Opportunities to learn scientific teamwork, research, and communication skills.

  • Support for developing your innovative ideas.

Aalto University follows the salary system of Finnish universities. The starting salary of a Ph.D. student is approximately 2600 €/month (gross), and it increases as you progress in your research and studies. The contract includes occupational health benefits and Finland´s comprehensive social security.  Following the standard practice in the Department of Applied Physics, the contract will be made initially for two years, then extended to another two years after a successful mid-term progress review. The total duration of Ph.D. studies is four years. The annual workload of research and teaching staff at Aalto University is currently 1612 hours. The contract includes Aalto University occupational healthcare.

The primary workplace will be the Otaniemi Campus at Aalto University.

Ready to apply?

If you want to join our community, please submit your application through our recruitment system by 5th October 2022. To apply for the position, please submit your application, including the attachments mentioned below, as one single PDF document in English through the link ’Apply now’ link at the bottom of the Aalto web page. 

  • A letter of motivation stating your personal career goals and how conducting a PhD is aligned with them

  • A complete curriculum vitae describing education and employment history

  • A letter of recommendation of a supervisor of MSc work or current employer

  • Degree certificates and academic transcripts

  • Course transcripts of the previous degree accomplished.

The position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is identified. For additional information, kindly contact Dr. Janne Halme ([email protected]). Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, extend the application period, reopen the application process, and consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

Please note: Aalto University’s employees and visitors should apply for the position via our internal system Workday -> find jobs (not external webpage on open positions) by using their existing Workday user account.

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