Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate Active Matter Physics

Vacancy number
Function type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
08 September 2020
Closing date
31 October 2020

Apply today

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Physics is looking for a

PhD candidate Active Matter Physics

Project description
From swarming to schooling to flocking, the self-organization of motile individuals into rich spatio-dynamical patterns is ubiquitous in Nature. After intense research over the past two decades, similar collective behaviors have been successfully reproduced in the lab where synthetic active materials can now be studied in highly controllable environments. Prominent examples of such synthetic active materials, whose constituents display continuous translational motion, include colloidal flocks, active nematics and vibrated polar grains. In contrast, materials formed from continuously rotating constituents, or active spinning units, have been little investigated.

Combining state of the art 3D micro-fabrication, microfluidics techniques and concepts and tools from active matter physics, this project aims at studying the collective properties of active spinning materials assembled from micro-rotors: their emergent rotation, the synchronization of neighboring rotors, the propagation of spin-waves through dense assemblies.

This project will accompany the opening and development of a new lab in the stimulating environment of the Soft Matter group at Leiden University.

Key responsibilities

  • Develop an experimental setup;
  • Conduct experiments and analyze data;
  • Participate in the development of the lab;
  • Publish and present scientific articles at international journals and conferences;
  • Write a dissertation.

Selection criteria

  • Strong interest and background in experimental physics and soft matter physics;
  • Highly motivated, enthusiastic and creative researcher; 
  • English communication and writing skills;          
  • A MSc degree in Physics or a related field.           

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.200 staff and almost 4,200 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

Terms and conditions 
We offer a  full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from 2.395,-  to € 3.061,-  gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Leiden University offers a Dual Career Programme (DCP) to assist the life partners of new academic staff (on pay-roll) in finding employment in The Netherlands. The programme is offered in close cooperation with nearby universities of Delft and Rotterdam (Erasmus). Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Alexandre Morin, email Morin@Physics.LeidenUniv.nl and to Yvonne Kerkhof, email Kerkhof@Physics.LeidenUniv.nl).

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Yvonne Kerkhof, email Kerkhof@Physics.LeidenUniv.nl. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Bachelor’s and master’s transcripts;
  • (Draft of) MSc thesis.

The position is available immediately and applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Only applications received no later than October 31, 2020 can be considered.


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