Mert Orhan Astam – ESR 8



Mert Orhan Astam is a PhD student at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry in Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). He joined the STORM-BOTS programme in July 2021 as a junior researcher in the field of soft robotics with liquid crystal elastomers. Working together with the Stimuli-responsive Functional Materials & Devices research group at TU/e, his main research interest focuses on developing electrically driven liquid crystal actuators for devices.

Prior to pursuing his PhD at TU/e, Orhan completed the integrated Master (M.Eng.) course in Materials Science and Engineering in Imperial College London with First Class Honours. For his M.Eng. thesis, he wanted to develop a better understanding of cold-sintering, especially in vaterite. To do so, he focused on computerised microscopic image analysis methods.

Mert Orhan Astam has an international background, engaging in study and work in multi-national and multi-cultural environments for his entire career. Outside of the university setting, he has experience in process engineering through employment in a chocolate factory in the Netherlands, where he successfully solved materials-related problems in production. Furthermore, he also built knowledge on sustainable energy at a well-known clean-technologies advisory company in Germany.

Research Interests

Liquid crystals, actuators, electrically driven, movement induction, soft robotics.


Research project: ESR 8 – Electrically driven liquid crystal actuator

In this project, we will develop three dimensional constructs made of liquid crystal elastomer provided with integrated patterned electrodes. The electrodes will provide localized electrical field of desired strength and frequency to generate anisotropic volume either by temperature or by resonance free volume and will result in controlled deformation figures that can perform pre-set tasks such as lifting, adhesion or release.


The results will the first steps to fully functional electrically driven soft robots which can be integrated with transistor controlled local powering to perform very complex, and multi-directional robotic functions, e.g. to perform in-vivo medical treatments.  .


The selected ESR will be hired by TU/e and will develop her/his activity at the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry performing secondments at SSSA (DeSimone), CSIC (Sánchez-Somolinos) and Holst Institute (TNO, Kjellander/Zalar) and company SABIC (Gelebart)

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

Project's dissemination

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PREC (NE) – Sep to Nov 2023