PhD Position Nanomechanical Sensing of Single-bacteria

PhD Position Nanomechanical Sensing of Single-bacteria

Published Deadline Location
20 Mar 14 Apr Delft

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Nanomechanical sensing of single-bacteria

Job description

Although noise has a negative connotation, such that in general it is eliminated or avoided, there are applications, specifically in biology where noisy dynamics can be useful. This is particularly true in the emerging field of nanomotion detection where microsystems have shown to reveal nanoscale oscillations of micro-organisms. Using graphene drums these tiny vibrations can now be resolved at the single-cell level. Recently, at TU Delft we demonstrated that graphene-based nanomotion technology can be used for fast detection of antibiotic resistance and can serve as a new nanotool for screening the effectiveness of antibiotics. We now plan to delve further into the nature of this nanomotion, optimize nanomotion sensors for robust detection of biological signals, and even engineer our devices for amplifying rhythms from single bacteria.

The vacant position is in the Dynamics of Micro and Nanosystems (DMN) group. The group focuses on exploiting dynamics of small-scale systems to create technologies that can lead to new products in the fields of scientific instrumentation, consumer electronics and healthcare. Our research spans from measuring and manipulating materials at the micro and nano scale, to the design of world-class MEMS and NEMS sensors and actuators.

You will be working in an international environment in one of the leading technical universities of Europe, with access to state-of-the art micro-nano testing facilities, bio-safety labs, and advanced numerical modelling tools. You will be contributing to a challenging topic related to a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant together with a team of 3 PhD students and 2 postdocs, and with the opportunity to also closely collaborate with a start-up focusing on bringing nanomotion technology to clinical practice.

As a PhD student your tasks will include but not limit to:

  • Mastering concepts in nanomotion detection and micro-swimmers,
  • Extending our existing theoretical and experimental frameworks about nanomechanical sensing of bacterial cells,
  • Contributing to the teaching and assisting with nonlinear dynamics and experimental modal analysis relevant courses at the department,
  • Writing a PhD thesis, publishing in renowned journals, and presenting your research at international meetings.

Website and References for further reading:

  1. Rosłoń, Irek E., et al. "Probing nanomotion of single bacteria with graphene drums." Nature Nanotechnology 17.6 (2022): 637-642.
  2. Rosłoń, I. E., et al. "Prospects and challenges for graphene drums as sensors of individual bacteria." Applied Physics Letters 124.1 (2024).



Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for applicants with the following qualifications:

  • MSc university degree in physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or a related area,
  • High motivation for teamwork and good communication skills,
  • Proven experimental experience, preferably at micro or nanoscale, is essential,
  • Experience in biophysics or micro-swimmers is a plus,
  • Experience in (nano)mechanical characterization of micro and nanosystems, and laser interferometry is an advantage.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Mechanical Engineering

From chip to ship. From machine to human being. From idea to solution. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to understand our environment and discover its underlying mechanisms, research and education at the ME faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

ME is a dynamic and innovative faculty with high-tech lab facilities and international reach. It’s a large faculty but also versatile, so we can often make unique connections by combining different disciplines. This is reflected in ME’s outstanding, state-of-the-art education, which trains students to become responsible and socially engaged engineers and scientists. We translate our knowledge and insights into solutions to societal issues, contributing to a sustainable society and to the development of prosperity and well-being. That is what unites us in pioneering research, inspiring education and (inter)national cooperation.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? These videos will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD05099


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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