PhD position: developing, modelling, and optimising new concepts for high-power pulse generators for geothermal energy

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Laboratory for High Power Electronic Systems (HPE) at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (D-ITET) performs international leading research on power electronic converter systems required for example in future energy distribution systems for integrating renewable energy sources or in traction applications/electric mobility. A further research focus is on solid state pulse modulators for medical applications (computer tomography/cancer treatment) and accelerators (e.g. CERN). For a new research project in the area of advanced pulsed power, we are recruiting a: Ph.D. candidate for developing, modelling, and optimising new concepts for high-power pulse generators for geothermal energy.

Job description

We are looking for outstanding, highly motivated individuals interested in pursuing Ph.D. research in the interdisciplinary area of pulse generator (modulator) systems. The research topic focusses on the development of new concepts for pulsed power modulators, which should generate pulses with a very fast pulse rise times (<100ns), with a pulse amplitude in the range of hundreds of kilovolt, and with a high pulsed output power of more than 100MW. With the modulator system, new drilling concepts for cost efficient drilling of very deep holes required for enabling a broad application of geothermal energy for base load energy provision are investigated. Besides the development of the basic modulator concept, the Ph.D. position involves also the detailed modelling and optimisation of the modulator system. For verifying the concept and the models, laboratory scale test systems are built and operated in our medium voltage laboratory. After a successful test, a full-scale prototype system should be built in collaboration with industry partners and other research institutes.

In our lab, you can expect a challenging and scientifically highly exciting full-time position in a dynamic, international team at one of the world-wide leading technical universities. Furthermore, we strongly support participation at international conferences and offer a competitive salary, excellent benefits as well as outstanding research and laboratory facilities for your experiments. In the framework of the project, you will also collaborate with other research institutes and industry partners.

Your profile

You have a diploma/M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering and/or physics with excellent grades, fundamental knowledge of power electronic converter systems, good communication skills, fluency in English and the willingness to fully commit yourself as part of an international team. In addition, you should be interested in pulsed power systems and should be willing to make yourself familiar with basics of plasma physics, since the load of the modulator system is an arc.

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • comprehensive CV
  • your B.Sc. and M.Sc. transcripts
  • electronic copies of the B.Sc/M.Sc. thesis and/or your publications (if available)
  • names/adresses of references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about Laboratory for High Power Electronic Systems (HPE) can be found on our website For questions about the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Jürgen Biela, Tel +41 44 632 69 22 or e-mail (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.