Tampere University

ESR 10 – Magneto-photoresponsive actuators with complex and reconfigurable shape


With almost 20 000 undergraduate and 2500 PhD students, Tampere University is Finland’s second largest multidisciplinary higher education institution. We place our faith in human potential and scientific knowledge. The spearheads of our research and learning are technology, health, and society, and “Revolution of Light and Image” has been identified are one of our key research areas.

Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Smart Photonic Materials Group (SPM; http://research.tuni.fi/spm). The SPM group focuses works at the interface between chemistry, physics, and materials engineering. We are interested in developing functional and stimuli-responsive materials, with particular focus on light-controllable systems. Our activities are centered around soft robotics, soft-matter photonics, light-controllable biomaterials and functional supramolecular systems. We are part of National Photonics and Innovation platform PREIN (http://prein.fi).


Tampere is one of the major academic hubs in the Nordic countries and with some 240 000 inhabitants, offers a dynamic living environment, yet surrounded by nature, providing unlimited possibilities for outdoor activities. Tampere region is one of the three most rapidly growing urban areas in Finland and home to a vibrant knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial community. The city is an industrial powerhouse that enjoys a rich cultural scene. https://eurocities.eu/cities/tampere/; https://visittampere.fi/en/



Arri Priimägi (TAU; Google Scholar Profile)



Hao Zeng (TAU; Google Scholar Profile)

Carlos Sanchez-Solominos (CSIC; Google Scholar Profile)


Contact email address of the supervisor: arri.priimagi@tuni.fi

Research project

In liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) photoactuators, synergistic use of photochemical and photothermal actuation mechanisms allows devising soft-robotic constructs with programmable and reconfigurable shape. A grand challenge in light-driven soft robots relates to the penetration of excitation beams into, e.g., biological tissues. In this respect, magneto-driven actuators provide a viable alternative. This ESR will devise a multi-responsive platform, driven by both light and magnetic fields, that allows for reconfigurable underwater actuation, and subsequently utilize 4D printing for extending these multi-responsive actuators beyond simple thin-sheet geometries. The project will have a significant outreach towards mechanobiology where remotely controlled and reversible shape morphing is desired.

Planned secondments: Max Planck Institute (Peer Fischer) for the design of magneto-photo-responsive actuators; Nanoscale Biomagnetics (company intrenship) to explore relevant parameters of magnetic actuation and its optimization; CSIC (Carlos Sánchez-Somolinos) for 4D printing of magneto-photoresponsive actuators with complex shapes and morphologies.

PhD programme – University: Doctoral Programme in Engineering and Natural Sciences


Required MSc degree in chemistry, physics or materials science/engineering

English level: All applicants must submit evidence on a good command of English for academic purposes, either through language proficiency test or higher education degree in English.

Desired skills: We seek talented and motivated candidates who may have a background in soft-matter mechanics, physics or chemistry. Prior experience in micro-fabrication, responsive materials, printing technologies, and/or optics is seen as a benefit. The candidate should have a strong motivation to carry out interdisciplinary experimental research, creativity to generate new research ideas, and teamwork ability required to act efficiently within the training network.


Specific requirements for the enrolment in the PhD Programme: Details on eligibility can be found from the following link: https://www.tuni.fi/en/study-with-us/doctoral-programme-engineering-and-natural-sciences and more information can be obtained by contacting the project supervisor.