Ph.D. position “Artificial Microswimmers: Unravelling 3D Real-Space Dynamics”

Ph.D. position “Artificial Microswimmers: Unravelling 3D Real-Space Dynamics”

Published Deadline Location
19 Apr 20 Jun Enschede

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Job description

We are happy to announce a fully funded Ph.D. position in the cutting-edge field of active soft matter, focusing on developing artificial microswimmers capable of autonomous motion and transport in 3D. We are looking for a highly motivated and curiosity-driven person who enjoys conceptual thinking and is passionate about learning new concepts and doing original research.

Autonomous motion, activity, and transport of microorganisms in fluids are the hallmark features of living systems. In recent years, this has fueled an emerging new research field, namely ‘’active or autonomous matter,” focused on designing synthetic microswimmers with unique capabilities such as self-propulsion, assembling themselves, and response to local environments [1,2]. However, creating micron-sized artificial building blocks that can swim autonomously in 3D is challenging.

To address this challenge, the primary objective of this project is to develop a unique experimental model system to better understand the dynamic self-organization of microorganisms in 3D using optical microscopy techniques. Ultimately, this project aims to increase our fundamental understanding of the dynamic self-organization of microorganisms in 3D and steer the development of valuable design rules, ultimately leading to the fabrication of smart micromachines for potential technological and biomedical applications, e.g., transporting cargos to desired targets, sensing of the local environment, mixing of fluids, reconfigurable materials, and active mass transport in catalysis.

The successful candidate will join the Active Soft Matter Lab within the Nanobiophysics group at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. This position offers ample opportunities for collaboration and interaction with various academic and industrial partners. You will work in a dynamic, highly interdisciplinary environment, utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to further the understanding and applications of microswimmers.
  1. Vutukuri, et al., Nature, 586, 52, 2020.

  1. Vutukuri, et al., Nat. Communi, 586, 52, 2020.



University of Twente (UT)


  • A Master's degree (or equivalent) in applied Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics, or at the interface between Physics and Chemistry is required. Students with an MS or MSc in Chemical Engineering, Materials Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering are also encouraged to apply if their Master's thesis work is related to soft matter.
  • Prior experience with experimental skills, ideally including optical microscope techniques and colloidal particle synthesis, is a valuable asset but not mandatory.
  • Working knowledge or demonstrated practical programming experience in Python, ImageJ, and/or MATLAB is highly beneficial.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are essential.

Conditions of employment

  • You will be appointed on a fulltime position for 4 years.
  • The position is available immediately.
  • The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in a stimulating scientific environment.
  • The PhD salary is € 2.541 in the first year, increasing to € 3.247 in the fourth year.
  • The offer further involves a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%, a solid pension scheme, a minimum of 29-day holidays, and numerous professional and personal development programs.


Our Lab focuses on active soft matter and bioinspired materials and is situated within the Nanobiophysics group at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. Our team is passionately committed to unraveling the fundamental principles governing dynamic self-organization in living matter, biomechanics of bio-membranes, and active particle transport in complex fluids through a soft matter lens.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1204


University of Twente (UT)

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Drienerlolaan 5, 7522NB, Enschede

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