Postdoctoral Fellowship: High throughput SERS for multiplexed fingerprinting

Postdoctoral Fellowship: High throughput SERS for multiplexed fingerprinting

Published Deadline Location
10 Apr 15 Aug Amsterdam
Three year fellowship combining assay development and high-throughput SERS readout platform design. We will deliver a turn-key system that makes highly multiplexed SERS-based molecular fingerprinting widely available, easy and fast.

Job description

Despite decades of innovation, SERS-based sensing platforms seldom transition from proof-of-concept, academic demonstrations to applied, market-ready products. A key bottleneck is the lack of suitable read-out methodologies, where highly sophisticated SERS sensors are analysed by confocal Raman microscopes, one spot at a time. Over the past few years, we have taken initial steps towards providing better solutions (Nature Nanotech. 15, 1005 (2020) & Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 61, e202200072 (2022)). However, a broadly-applicable turn-key solution is still lacking but could revolutionise SERS-based sensing.

During this three-year postdoctoral fellowship, you will develop a platform technology that leverages tailored SERS assays, enabled by a novel high-throughput readout technology that we will establish in parallel. With the support of our interdisciplinary team, you will lead this ambitious project and:
  • Develop a barcoded SERS-sensor library
  • Design SAM-based digital fingerprinting assays
  • Implement a high-throughput SERS readout platform
  • Benchmark and optimise the combined assay/platform technology
  • Systematically demonstrate the technology's broad applicability, from anti-counterfeiting to wine analysis.
  • Explore thus-far inaccessible SERS strategies enabled by our readout technology


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


The ideal candidate will have a strong background in the design, synthesis and characterisation of SERS-based sensors and is familiar with Raman microscopy/spectroscopy.
  • PhD degree in Chemistry, Nanotechnology, or Physics
  • Experience with SERS, self-assembly/colloidal chemistry, nanophotonics, Raman spectroscopy/microscopy
  • Experience with optical instrumentation, programming and hardware-software interfacing is a plus
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excited about interdisciplinary research as part of multidisciplinary and diverse team
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaboratively work with other researchers
  • Eager to learn and apply new skills

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A fully funded three year postdoctoral fellowship with ample room for personal development in a socially engaged organisation. We offer:
  • A salary of minimum € 3.226,00 (Scale 10) and maximum € 5.090,00 (Scale 10) gross per month, on a full-time basis. This is based on UFO profile Researcher 4. The exact salary depends on your education and experience.
  • The appointment will initially be for 1 year. Subject to a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 3 years.
  • Plenty of room to acquire new skills to develop a highly-competitive research portfolio.

We also offer you attractive fringe benefits and regulations. Some examples:
  • a full-time 38-hour working week comes with a holiday leave entitlement of 232 hours per year. If you choose to work 40 hours, you have 96 extra holiday leave hours on an annual basis. For part-timers, this is calculated pro rata.
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • space for personal development
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The MatzLab develops next-generation imaging and sensing platforms in the context of future biomedical, pharmaceutical, and clinical applications. We are particularly interested in label-free or digital approaches, where we combine fundamental research with systematic platform and assay development. To realise our vision, we build on an interdisciplinary toolbox comprising molecular biology, ultrafast optics, advanced microscopy, and nanophotonics, with the key ingredient being creativity and room for personal development.

Faculty of Science
Researchers and students at VU Amsterdam’s Faculty of Science tackle fundamental and complex scientific problems to help pave the way for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, and from molecules to the moon: we cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. Our teaching and research have a strong experimentally technical, computational and interdisciplinary nature.

We work on new solutions guided by value-driven, interdisciplinary methodologies. We are committed to research, valorisation and training socially engaged citizens of the world who will make valuable contributions to a sustainable, healthy future.

Are you interested in joining the Faculty of Science? You will join undergraduate students, PhD candidates and researchers at the biggest sciences faculty in the Netherlands. You will combine a professional focus with a broad view of the world. We are proud of our collegial working climate, characterised by committed staff, a pragmatic attitude and engagement in the larger whole. The faculty is home to over 11,000 students enrolled in 40 study programmes. It employs over 1,600 professionals spread across 10 academic departments.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam stands for values-driven education and research. We are open-minded experts with the ability to think freely. - a broader mind. Maintaining an entrepreneurial perspective and concentrating on diversity, significance and humanity, we work on sustainable solutions with social impact. By joining forces, across the boundaries of disciplines, we work towards a better world for people and planet. Together we create a safe and respectful working and study climate, and an inspiring environment for education and research. Learn more about our codes of conduct

We are located on one physical campus, in the heart of Amsterdam's Zuidas business district, with excellent location and accessibility. Over 5,500 staff work at the VU and over 30,000 students attend academic education.

Diversity is the driving force of the VU. The VU wants to be accessible and receptive to diversity in disciplines, cultures, ideas, nationalities, beliefs, preferences and worldviews. We believe that trust, respect, interest and differences lead to new insights and innovation, to sharpness and clarity, to excellence and a broader understanding.

We stand for an inclusive community and believe that diversity and internationalisation contribute to the quality of education, research and our services.

Therefore, we are always searching for people whose backgrounds and experience contribute to the diversity of the VU community.

Additional information

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents as a single PDF:
  • A cover letter describing your current research interests
  • A CV including list of publications
  • A list ranking your experience with SERS; self-assembly/colloidal chemistry; nanophotonics; Raman spectroscopy; designing optical instrumentation; programming. (0-10 scale, with 0 = no experience, 10 = world leading expert)
  • Contact details of at least two references

For additional questions, please get in touch with Matz Liebel (

Evaluation will be done on a rolling basis until the vacancy is filled.

Applications received by e-mail will not be considered.

Acquisition in response to this advertisement is not appreciated.


  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 3949


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1085, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).