Are you a highly motivated student looking to combine your knowledge of condensed matter physics with state-of-the-art experiments? The van Heumen lab is looking for an excellent candidate to become the driving force behind the search for novel materials with both strong interactions and elements of topological physics. This 4-year PhD project will focus on so-called topological phases, which are omnipresent in quantum materials and provide an unexpected gateway for the experimental exploration of fundamental aspects of topological quantum field theories.

What are you going to do?

You will lead the hunt for signatures of novel Weyl and nodal-line semimetals undergoing phase transitions using optical experiments. The project is part of the Dutch research program TOPCORE, which aims to explore the physics of strongly correlated materials with that of topological physics. Within the program you will collaborate with PhD candidates from several different universities covering a wide range of experimental and theoretical facets. Within the optics group you will help to further develop our instruments and analysis routines. You will also be able to develop your teaching, supervision and communication skills as teaching assistant, supervisor and collaborator.

What do we require?

  • An MSc in physics;
  • a background in condensed matter physics;
  • excellent English oral and written communication skills;
  • scientific publications and/or a reference letter from your MSc. advisor.

Your application will be helped if you can demonstrate previous laboratory experience using some form of spectroscopy and working knowledge of a programming language (phyton, C++ or equivalent).

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute of Physics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute of Physics (IoP) of the University of Amsterdam is located in the center of the Amsterdam Science Park. The IoP – as part of the Faculty of Science –is housed in a modern building with excellent labs and technical facilities. Surrounded by several national research institutes and with our partners at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the institute is part of a strong physics center of international standing.

The Van der Waals – Zeeman Institute for Experimental Physics (IoP-WZI) is part of the IoP and home to three research clusters: Quantum Gases & Quantum Information (QG&QI), Quantum Materials (QMat), and Soft Matter (SM). Our research focuses on the emergent properties of complex matter both in a quantum and classical physics setting.

The optical spectroscopy lab, supervised by Dr Erik van Heumen, is part of the Quantum Materials Amsterdam (QMA) research cluster. The optics group focusses on spectroscopy of topological and strongly correlated electron materials using far-field and near-field optical spectroscopy, as well as magneto optical spectroscopy.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 31 January 2021, but applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. The starting date for the project can be discussed but is expected to be September 2021.

You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a CV;
  • a cover letter where you will briefly present yourself. Give an explicit and well-motivated description of why you fit the profile provided in de vacancy text and
  • optionally: reference letters (please do not include full publications; Links to publications in your CV are appreciated).


No agencies please

Apply now

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