Are you a highly motivated student interested in novel nanomaterials and functional thin films? Two teams, one lead by Dr. Newell at the Institute of Physics (IoP) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and another lead by Dr. Bliem at the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL), are looking for an ambitious student with excellent knowledge of solid state physics for a joint project on high-entropy ceramics using a combined experiment & theory approach. This 4-year PhD project combines growth and experimental characterization of high-performance functional materials using optical and electron spectroscopy as well as nano-scale optical imaging correlated with atomic force microscopy, with density functional theory calculations for a comprehensive understanding of the materials properties.

What are you going to do?

You will explore the properties of a novel class of high-performance materials – high-entropy ceramics. First, you will model selected materials using density functional theory (DFT) at the IoP with an eye on mechanical and optical properties for applications as ultra-hard coatings and emitter/absorber for opto-electronics. You will synthesize the selected materials using a custom-built high-energy ball-mill at IoP and deposit thin films ranging from monolayers to tens of nanometers using pulsed laser deposition at ARCNL. You will characterize their optical, electronic, and mechanical properties by optical spectroscopy, photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, and nanoindentation, and interpret them in the context of your simulations. You will present your research at international conferences and publish them in the form of scientific articles.

What do we require?

  • An MSc in physics, (physical) chemistry, material science, or a closely related field;
  • a background in condensed matter physics;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English.

Other skills, experiences, and documents that would benefit your application:

  • previous experience with surface analysis or simulation techniques;
  • a reference letter from your MSc advisor;
  • scientific publications.

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? Take a look here.


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

About the Faculty of Science and the the Institute of Physics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, 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 Van der Waals – Zeeman Institute for Experimental Physics (WZI) is part of the Institute of Physics (IoP) of the University of Amsterdam 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 Nanomaterials group focuses on the development of correlative optical and atomic force microscopy, as well as synthesis and simulations of novel nanomaterials, mostly for the purposes of application in optoelectronics and photovoltaics. The group’s main expertise is in single-dot spectroscopy, optical spectroscopy of novel nanomaterials, atomic force microscopy, and in past few years also ‘reverse engineering’ of nanomaterials using Density Functional Theory (this in close collaboration with the theoretical physics cluster at IoP).     

The group for Materials and Surface Science for EUV Lithography at the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) studies the elementary physical and chemical processes occurring at surfaces and interfaces relevant to EUV nanolithography and explores materials for next-generation technology. The group’s core techniques are pulsed laser deposition for thin film growth and in-situ photoelectron spectroscopy for monitoring the evolution of surface composition and chemistry in reactive atmospheres. This includes the formation of unique surface phases, dewetting, precipitation, or intermixing at interfaces.
ARCNL focuses on the fundamental physics and chemistry involved in current and future key technologies in nanolithography, primarily for the semiconductor industry. ARCNL is a public-private partnership between the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the University of Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and the semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. ARCNL is located at the Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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 1 March 2021. You may apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • CV
  • motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).
    It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

No agencies please

Apply now

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