Master projects

Every year we host several national and international master students and a smaller selection of bachelor students and interns for projects that relate to our activities in fundamental and applied research. We support your stay in St. Gallen with an allowance and housing. The ideal length of a project work is around 6 months. Our open and international research environment as well as our good contacts to industry and ETH Zürich are assets, highly esteemed by students. We have many years of experience in hosting Master projects from many different countries and a very intercultural open spirit.

You can always send an unsolicited application with a CV and letter of interest to (, or, more specifically contact the responsible person as listed for the currently open project topics following below.

Manfred Heuberger


Currently open project topics

  • Topic for a Master thesis at Empa, St.Gallen in the Group Plasma & Coating
    Liquid-infused (sub)nanoporous surfaces
    Liquid-infused porous surfaces gained increasing interest over recent years for their friction reduction (lubricant-infused surface) or non-fouling (PEG-infused surfaces) capability. Ultrasmooth and chemi-cally homogeneous slippery surfaces are created by infusing a nano/microstructured porous material with a lubricating fluid, thus getting trapped at the surface by replacing air. The porous structures used so far, however, lose the infused liquid over time due to the open porous structures with pores dis-tinctly exceeding 1 nm.
    Therefore, a porous structure with subnanometer pores is created by plasma deposition of inorganic coatings containing an organic sacrificial fraction that can be plasma-etched afterwards. Such coating structures will be examined and characterized. Silicone oils and polyethyleneglycols (PEGs) are used as lubricants to be infused. By formation of radicals and functionalities as well as an adequate pore struc-ture in the plasma coating, a long-term retention of the infused liquid is aimed for. Friction properties and non-fouling tests will be performed.
    Contact: Dr. Dirk Hegemann, 058 765 7268,