PhD in physical chemistry

PhD in physical chemistry

Published Deadline Location
30 Jun 23 Aug Leiden

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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a PhD in physical chemistry

Job description

Troubling images, showcasing the large amount of plastic litter that contaminates our waters and threatens wildlife, have become a regular focus of the popular media. Not everyone realizes that we cannot account for a very large fraction of the plastic that escapes into the ocean. A significant portion of this “missing plastic” is hypothesized to result from the degradation of plastics and are named nanoplastics. This PhD project is part of a consortium that will investigate the origin, structure and fate of nanoplastics. The consortium consists of Utrecht University, NIOZ/UvA, and Leiden University. In the project taking place at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry we will make use of STM/AFM to obtain atomic-scale structural information of polymers that are constituents of nanoplastics found in the marine environment and of samples collected from this environment. The chemical composition and oxidation state of the elements present will be investigated using XPS. As a next step, the aging and degradation of polymers and nanoplastics will be investigated and compared. This encompasses studying the effects of exposure of the samples to gases at atmospheric pressures (e.g. H2, H2O, and O2 and mixtures thereof) and/or elevated temperatures on the atomic-scale structure and chemical composition. For more information, see the project website.


Leiden University


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, who has:

  • A Master’s degree in Chemistry or Physics, or related disciplines;
  • A strong interest in surface science;
  • Excellent proficiency in English;
  • Good technical experimental skills.

The candidate should feel comfortable working in a collaborative environment with complex experiments. Initiative, creativity and an independent working attitude are highly valued. Experience with vacuum equipment and/or scanning probe microscopy is considered an advantage.

Conditions of employment

We offer a 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 € 2.394,- 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. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. 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.

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


Leiden University

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 organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 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.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • University graduate
  • 20-284



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