PhD Position in Experimental Soft Matter

PhD Position in Experimental Soft Matter

Published Deadline Location
28 Jan 15 Mar Amsterdam

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Job description

Aim of the PhD project is to investigate the micromechanics of 'superlubric' particle suspensions for novel lubricants. Superlubricity is a newly discovered mechanism of ultralow friction due to atomic lattice misfit between clean, flat, rigid crystalline surfaces. We will investigate the rheology and contact mechanics of superlubric colloidal particles to elucidate their contact network and flow instabilities. The project is part of the European project SSLiP (Scaling-up SuperLubricity into Persistence), involving seven partners.

What are you going to do?

Friction between moving parts and the associated wear are responsible for about 25% of the world’s energy consumption. Superlubricity is a new mechanism of ultralow friction between solid surfaces. In this project, we want to bring superlubricity to the macroscopic scale using colloidal particles coated with superlubric material. We will investigate their dynamic contact network and shear banding under applied shear using 3D confocal microscopy to obtain insight into their micromechanics. To image the contact network, we will explore the application of molecular probes coated on the particle surfaces. Together with the other EU project partners in simulations, particle synthesis, and friction analysis, we will carefully design the coatings and carrier fluid to achieve an ultralow friction lubricant for applications.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


What do we require?

  • A Masters degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry.
  • Experience in the following fields: Statistical Mechanics or Rheology of suspensions, Colloids, Molecular probes, Soft Matter.
  • The excellent candidate should be able to collaborate and adapt in an international team and possess very good communication skills in oral and written English.

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of four 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 four 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 €2,443 to €3,122 (scale P) gross per month, based on a fulltime contract (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.


University of Amsterdam

WThe University of Amsterdam (UvA)is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds. Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Faculty of Science – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

The Faculty of Science (FNWI) 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 Institute of Physics (IoP) of the Faculty of Science combines the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI), the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITFA) and the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEF) and is one of the large research institutes of the faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. Within the Faculty of Science the Physics, Chemistry (and Informatics) institutes collaborate in the Soft Matter ‘Research Priority Area‘ (RPA). The RPA encompasses world-leading groups on both experiments and theory/computation.

A PhD position on superlubric colloidal particles for friction reduction is available in the Soft Matter Group of the WZI and the RPA.


  • PhD scholarship; Education
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • 22-8092


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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