PhD candidate in Soft Condensed Matter Physics

Faculty of Science – Institute of Physics

Publication date
28 July 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
31 October 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Machine Materials Laboratory at the Institute of Physics of the University of Amsterdam is looking for excellent, highly motivated PhD candidates who will unravel the physics of active structured materials.

Over the past few years, exciting progress has been made in the field of mechanical metamaterials. Harnessing nonlinear degrees of freedom arising in suitably designed microstructures, metamaterials could be programmed with specific mechanical tasks, such as negative stiffness, elastic hysteresis or programmable mechanics. So far, most of these developments have been made with passive - at equilibrium - materials.

About the Laboratory

Our research lab focuses on the understanding of the physics of soft structured active materials.  The goal is to develop the physics of Machine Materials, i.e. artificial materials which combine microstructure and out-of-equilibrium processes to interact with their environment in a programmable fashion. We benefit from an exceptional scientific environment of the Institute of Physics of the University of Amsterdam, with the very close proximity of the Soft Matter and Theoretical Condensed Matter groups.

Project description

The goal of this PhD project is to generalize these findings to create a new class of programmable, dynamical and active materials, called Machine Materials. To do this, the idea is to set the grounds of nonlinear osmomechanics, which combines swelling and nonlinear elasticity within metagels, i.e. architected hydrogels under osmotic shock.


You have or are close to completing a Master’s degree in physics, engineering, chemistry or a related field. You have outstanding experimental skills, a strong theoretical/numerical background and a marked taste for combining experiments, numerical simulations and theory. The following areas of expertise are particularly welcomed: rapid prototyping, micro-fabrication, polymer synthesis, mechanical testing, control/automation/robotics, image processing, data mining and computer programming (Python, Matlab, or equivalent) as well as theoretical background in (soft) condensed matter, nonlinear physics, statistical physics and mechanics. You have excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Further information


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. The PhD candidate is also expected to assist in teaching of undergraduates.

Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,222 in the first year to €2,840 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. 

Job application

Please apply using the link below. Applications must include:

  • a curriculum vitae including a list of university courses taken with grades;
  • title and summary of your Master thesis;
  • manuscript of your Master thesis (if completed) or relevant scientific publications (if any);
  • a single page maximum motivation letter that explains why you have chosen to apply for this specific position with a statement of your research experience and interests and how these relate to this project;
  • contact details of 2 referees. We will contact the referees directly with the request to upload their recommendation letters.

Applications will be processed on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been identified. (Formal closing date: 31 October 2017). #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam