PhD Optical Near-field Electron Microscopy

PhD Optical Near-field Electron Microscopy

Published Deadline Location
19 Sep 25 Sep Leiden

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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Physics (LION) are looking for a:

PhD Candidate on Optical Near-field Electron Microscopy (4 years, 1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number: 14030

The van der Molen Lab at Leiden University is seeking a PhD stu...

Job description

The PhD project offered is part of the European FET-Proactive program ONEM. The latter stands for optical near-field electron microscopy, which is an exciting new microscopy technique that we are developing with colleagues in Vienna and Prague. The basic goal of ONEM is to find the optimum between optical imaging and electron microscopy. The envisioned technique is damage-free, requires no labels, and allows for a resolution on nanometer scales. In a nut shell, we combine visible-light illumination of the sample with low-work-function photoemission in the near field and, finally, electron imaging. For an extensive explanation see: Phys. Rev. Applied 16, 014008 (2021). Although a typical high-risk, high-gain project at first, by now we can say that (blue light) ONEM has been successfully demonstrated. It works! But it can still get much better in terms of resolution, wavelength range, contrast, temporal resolution and versatility.
In this PhD trajectory, you will be part of the team in Leiden, which is where the ONEM setup is located. Your task is to perfect ONEM, by optimizing (polarized) illumination, photocathode performance, and sample handling. Special care will be given to the introduction of a liquid cell within which we can follow ‘live’ dynamics. Thus you will be able to perform a series of unique experiments, aiming specifically for dynamics of biological systems and nano-sized growth via electrodeposition.
Basically, in your PhD time, we expect to reap what has been sowed in the first stages of our program!


Leiden University


Selection Criteria
We are looking for a motivated and skilled experimental physicist or applied physicist (MSc*; f/m) who combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on mentality. A background in condensed matter physics, biophysics, electrochemistry and/or electron microscopy is helpful. The position requires you to work in a team, both locally, and internationally.

Conditions of employment

What we offer
We offer a collaborative, enthusiastic and scientifically strong environment in a renowned research institute, the Leiden institute of Physics, where the input of each person is valued equally. Furthermore, you will be part of the international ONEM team, that also connects to the U.S. and Germany. The work is expected to lead to high-impact publications and international visibility. Note that in the Netherlands, a PhD candidate is considered an employee with all the benefits that come with that. Finally, Leiden is a beautiful town close to the beach, with a great academic tradition and atmosphere.

Research at our faculty
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 2.300 staff and almost 5,000 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.

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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 ranges from € 2,541,- to € 3,247,- 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. 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.

D&I statement
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 14030



Rapenburg 70, 2311EZ, Leiden

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