PhD Candidate: Experimental Neuromorphic Computing Leveraging Stochasticity

PhD Candidate: Experimental Neuromorphic Computing Leveraging Stochasticity

Published Deadline Location
13 May 26 May Nijmegen

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Job description

Are you interested in a project at the interface between computational physics, condensed matter physics, materials science and neuromorphic computing? Do you strive for both fundamental and societal impact of your research? If so, then we have a project for you. Neuromorphic computing is a way to perform computations with hardware that mimics the architecture of the human brain.

This project aims to co-develop algorithms for neuromorphic hardware, focusing on the inherent stochasticity in neuromorphic materials. This will pave the way towards solutions for problems in optimisation and sampling, creating more fundamental knowledge on stochastic properties of next-generation materials for neuromorphic hardware. You will be part of a consortium, that not only includes Radboud University but also Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Mainz, the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour in Nijmegen, Fontys University of Applied Science in Eindhoven, SURF and IBM, combining expertise from experimental physics and materials sciences, artificial intelligence, computational and high performance computing, and computer hardware and software engineering. Together we aim to develop parallel Markov-chain Monte Carlo sampling algorithms, implement them in recently discovered ultra-fast, ultra-small and ultra-low-energy stochastic dynamics in magnetic materials, and benchmark this new method for runtime and energy-efficiency against traditional sampling.

The project closely aligns with fundamental studies on ultrafast nanomagnetism. This position will be jointly supervised by Nijmegen and Mainz and will involve material (multilayer) deposition, characterisation and investigation as to how these materials can be employed using All-Optical switching (AOS) of magnetisation in these magnetic nanostructures.

AOS has been demonstrated as a radically new approach to write magnetic bits at an unprecedented picosecond timescale and with low switching energies. Key challenges for this project are to develop material systems where AOS can lead to stochastic, multi-state switching, can be scaled down to nanometer dimensions while still retaining the energy efficiency of AOS. Ultimately, this may lead to breaking down existing computational barriers, paving the way to new scientific discoveries. Although fundamental in nature, our research may, in the long term, stimulate the adoption of neuromorphic hardware for societal applications. You will receive training and perform research and will be part of an interdisciplinary effort involving collaborations with all the consortium partners (but in particular with the Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) Mainz), publish results in leading journals, and have the chance to participate in international schools and conferences. Your teaching load may be up to 10% of your working time.


Radboud University


  • You should hold an MSc degree in Experimental Physics or an equivalent qualification.
  • You are a highly motivated researcher.
  • Good communication skills and fluency in written and spoken English are required.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 or 5 years.

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (0.8 FTE 5- year contract - 1.0 FTE 4- year contract) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract) or 3.5 years (5-year contract).
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20.

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


In close collaboration with the Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Correlated Materials group (Prof. Kimel), the Spectroscopy of Surfaces and Interfaces group (Prof. Rasing) conducts both experimental and theoretical research aimed at understanding ultrafast processes in magnetic materials. Your research will be embedded in interdisciplinary research on energy-efficient computing funded by the Dutch government through a KIC and NWA programme (NL-ECO). In addition, the research benefits from existing international collaborations (EU-NIMFEIA project on magnonic reservoir computing, EU-COMRAD project on ultrafast spintronics, EU-3DMAGiC project on nanoscale topological spin textures). The main supervisors for this PhD position are Dr Johan Mentink and Prof. Theo Rasing, in close collaboration with Dr Dima Afanasiev and Prof. Alexey Kimel.

Our research is embedded in the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM), which strives to fundamentally understand, design and control the functioning of molecules and materials. We offer a first class and international research environment with various theoretical and computational research topics and projects targeted to support and stimulate experiments.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 30—38 hours per week
  • max. €2770 per month
  • University graduate
  • 62.097.24



Houtlaan 4, 6525XZ, Nijmegen

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