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Available projects

Project: Learning quantum mechanical time evolution with transformers

Project ID: C-2023-01

PI: Mathias Scheurer group website

Research Field(s): Theoretical Physics

Duration: 4-6 month

Short description of the project:
By now, even a random person on the street is very likely familiar with Chat-GPT, indicating the enormous impact machine learning is currently having on society. The transformer architecture, which is at the heart of ChatGPT, is being established as a very powerful tool, not only in natural language processing applications but also far beyond. Due to its unique advantages in parametrizing and sampling from probability distributions over high-dimensional spaces, exploring its potential for applications in many-body physics is a very promising direction of current research in condensed matter physics. In this project, we will learn how a transformer network works, how it can be trained and sampled from. We will then study how it can be employed to efficiently “learn” the dynamics of certain quantum many-body systems. 

Required skills:

  • Basic knowledge of quantum theory
  • Experience with programming in python
  • Interest in machine learning and data-driven numerical approaches; previous experience with machine learning will be useful but not a formal pre-requisite


Project: Synthesis of floatable porous elastomer–hydrogel for photocatalytic CO2 reduction.  

Project ID: C-2023-02

PI: Bettina Lotsch (Risov Das)

Research Field(s): Chemistry and Material Science

Duration: 6 months

Short description of the project:
The effectiveness of photocatalytic CO2 reduction in solution is constrained by the challenges of mass transfer, particularly the limited availability of CO2 on the catalyst surface due to its low solubility in water. Conversely, the provision of water is indispensable for this process, as photocatalytic CO2 reduction follows a pathway involving proton-coupled electron transfer. Our objective is to create a buoyant hydrogel on which the photo-catalyst can be constructed. This hydrogel will enable water molecules to approach the catalyst surface from the back, facilitating the direct utilization of gaseous CO2 from the top surface. The researcher's role involves developing distinct layers of the hydrogel to ensure its buoyancy and permit the passage of water molecules to the catalyst layer. The fabrication of this material will employ techniques such as sonication, stirring, vacuum treatment, and the utilization of various solvent mixtures.

Required skills:

  • Ability of calculating molarity and pH of a solution  
  • interest in organic and physical chemistry
  • Prior knowledge in IUPAC nomenclature of inorganic and organic compounds

Project: Synthesis and characterization of bulk and film polyheptazine imades

Project ID: C-2023-03

PI: Bettina Lotsch

Research Field(s): Chemistry / Material Science

Duration: 4-6 month

Short description of the project:
Light absorber layers and their electronic structure control charge transfer and the ultimate performance of state-of-the-art solar batteries. Potassium polyheptazine imides (K-PHI) based batteries developed in our team present promising platforms for these devices. In this internship both bulk and film potassium and hydrogen polyheptazine imides (K- and H-PHI) will be prepared and characterized by various analyses techniques. In the bulk material K-PHI can be easily converted into H-PHI by acid treatment. A systematic study and the reversibility of this reaction will be performed. The formation ability of K-PHI would be tested using self-assembly techniques by SAM forming molecules. Thus the properties of the SAMs will be tested followed by the deposition of PHI layers at varied K+ and H+ content levels for device optimizations.

Required skills:

  • basic chemistry lab work skills: handling of acids and bases, preparation of salt solutions with defined concentrations, filtration and centrifugation of suspensions
  • basic skills in analytical chemistry: operating a pH-electrode
  • proper documentation of the lab work
  • good English knowledge
  • interest in learning new techniques: XRPD, FT-IR spectroscopy, film fabrication strategies, analysis of XPS and microscopy data

Project: Investigation of dynamic behavior in different MOFs

Project ID: C-2023-04

PI: Simon Krause;;

Research Field(s): Exp. Chemistry

Duration: 3-6 months

Short description of the project:
In this project, we will focus on synthesizing different metal-organic frameworks. To achieve different morphologies, we will try different approaches and synthesis strategies. The synthesized MOFs will be analyzed and characterized by various techniques. Most of the MOFs show flexible behavior on a stimulus. Additionally, we are interested in preparing thin films of these materials and will analyze the diffusion coefficient.
The synthesized materials will be analyzed by powder X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, thermal gravimetric analysis, and ad- and desorption experiments.

Required skills:

  • Interest in researching the intersection of synthetic and experimental chemistry of dynamic materials
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