Giulia Spallanzani – ESR 12




Giulia Spallanzani pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics and her Master’s degree in Engineering Physics – Nanotechnologies and Nanophysics at Politecnico di Milano, Italy. She did her industrial Bachelor’s thesis on defect analysis of silicon wafers at the Italian plant of Global Wafers Singapore Ltd. in Novara and a research-oriented Master’s thesis on a smart recyclable strain sensor at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova.

Her studies ranged from semiconductors to polymer materials to graphene, diving deep into the underlying physics and their possible applications in nanotechnology.

Giulia joined the STORM-BOTS program in November 2021 as ESR12, and she will work in the Hybrid Printed Electronics Group at Holst Centre – TNO in Eindhoven, developing printable LCE-based sensors.

Research interests

Liquid crystals, smart materials, sensors, soft robotics, applied physics


Research project: ESR 12 – Electrically driven sensor skins for LCE-based soft robotics

Robots that mimic the soft, pliable, robust, and organic qualities of the natural world are preferred over rigid, cold, and inorganic conventional robots. Soft robotics immediately benefits industries such as agriculture, where they are already deployed in the collection of fruits and vegetables. However, to advance the emerging field of “soft robots”, these machines must be equipped with actuators and sensors to allow them to interact with their environment and render them more perceptive. Such solutions can also form the basis of smart electronic skins, which can augment the sensory abilities of humans.

However, the construction of a total soft sensor and actuator system requires the optimization and elaboration of fabrication methodologies. It also requires the fundamental characterization of new materials as a function of chemical structure and processing technique.

The selected ESR will be employed at TNO as a PhD researcher and enrolled as a PhD student at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry (CE&C), Eindhoven University of Technology. The PhD student will be supervised by research staff at TNO and academic staff at TU Eindhoven. The main activities for this ERP will take place at TNO the Holst Centre (the Netherlands) performing secondments at Eindhoven University of Technology (NL), at Institute of Nanoscience and Materials of Aragon (CSIC, Spain) and at the company Vention (the Netherlands).


PhD programme – University: PhD programme in Chemical Engineering, TU/e