Postdoc: Shining light on atomic scale processes

Postdoc: Shining light on atomic scale processes

Published Deadline Location
1 Jul 31 Oct Amsterdam

Job description

Work Activities
The Hybrid Nanosystems group at NWO-Institute AMOLF is looking for a postdoc for investigating light-induced processes in situ inside the transmission electron microscope (TEM). Modern TEMs now can routinely visualize materials all the way down to the atomic level, revealing unexpected insights into the influence of chemical structure on material properties. At the same time, recent developments in nanophotonics and plasmonics make it possible to concentrate light nearly to the atomic scale within picoseconds, opening up unprecedented control over where, when and how energy is injected into a material. At AMOLF, we will get a unique TEM which combines light excitation with atomic scale imaging opening up an exciting world of novel in situ capabilities. As excitingly, with the addition of an ultrafast beam blanker and the Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) Cheetah T3 detector we will be able to push the underlying time resolution to ultrafast time scales with a resolution of up to 640 million frames per second. With these technical capabilities the TEM will be the first of its kind making so far impossible experiments possible.

Within the project, you will explore the technical possibilities of the new infrastructure and study how photochemical, photothermal and photovoltaic processes alter materials at the atomic scale. Such atomic-scale details are predicted to be crucial for catalytic conversion efficiency and selectivity (essential for solar-driven chemical and fuel production) as well as for photovoltaic efficiency, but are largely unknown. At the start, you will focus on two scientific research questions: 1) How can we atomically engineer metal nanoparticles through pulsed laser excitation? By being able to directly visualize light-induced atomic-scale changes in situ inside the TEM, you will target to make and stabilize high-index facets and program atomic defects by kinetically trapping non-equilibrium structures by tuning laser excitation conditions. Achieving such atomic control is a long-sought goal of catalysis and will significantly contribute to the improvement of catalytic systems. 2) How do mixed perovskite films demix? You will directly visualize the light driven ion migration that leads to phase separation, helping to resolve the debate over the underlying mechanism. This understanding will enable us to tune the light driven phase separation, either enhancing it to enable optoelectronic materials that can learn or suppressing it to yield optoelectronic devices with properties that are stable for many years.

The project is highly collaborative and embedded in a larger consortium of researchers at ARCNL, UvA and VU working on photochemical, photothermal and photovoltaic processes. You will help to set up experiments with researchers inside and outside the consortium. Within AMOLF, you will team up on the perovskite side with Prof. Garnett’s group and connect to ongoing projects on light driven chemistry in Prof. Ehrler, Prof. Alarcon-Llado and Prof. Polman groups. You will also work closely with the NanoLab Amsterdam staff, who are aiding in technical implementations. Furthermore, this project will be performed in close collaboration with JEOL-IDES (TEM manufacturer, light incoupling and ultrafast electron beam blanking units) and ASI (ultrafast detection).

You need to meet the requirements for a doctors-degree and must have research experience in a non-Dutch academic environment. We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a strong background in transmission electron microscopy and strong social, organizational and communication skills. Excellent verbal and written English skills are essential.

Work environment
You will perform this research in the Hybrid Nanosystems research group headed by Wiebke Albrecht at AMOLF. The Hybrid Nanosystems group combines single-particle optical and advanced electron microscopy to answer fundamental questions about the complex interaction between different classes of nanomaterials. We also explore new architectures for creating functional and smart hybrid nanosystems.

AMOLF performs leading research on the fundamental physics and design foundations of natural and man-made complex matter, with research in 3 interconnected themes: sustainable energy materials, information in matter, and autonomous matter. AMOLF leverages these insights to create novel functional materials, and to find solutions to societal challenges in renewable energy, green ICT, and health care. AMOLF is one of the NWO-I national research institutes located at the Amsterdam Science Park, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It has approximately 130 scientists and a total size of ca. 200 employees. Furthermore, it hosts the Amsterdam NanolabNL clean room, which is part of the national NanoLabNL cleanroom network. See also

Working conditions
  • The working atmosphere at the institute is largely determined by young, enthusiastic, mostly foreign employees. Communication is informal and runs through short lines of communication.
  • The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of 2 years
  • Salary is in scale 10 (CAO-OI) which starts at 4.065 Euro’s gross per month, and a range of employment benefits.
  • AMOLF assists any new foreign Postdoc with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

More information?
Dr. Wiebke Albrecht
Group leader Hybrid Nanosystems
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please send your:
  • Resume including at least two references;
  • Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).

It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.

The starting date of the project is before July 1st 2024.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

Diversity code
AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment: we want to develop talent and creativity by bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures. We recruit and select on the basis of competencies and talents. We strongly encourage anyone with the right qualifications to apply for the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, sexual orientation or physical ability.

AMOLF has won the NNV Diversity Award 2022, which is awarded every two years by the Netherlands Physical Society for demonstrating the most successful implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Commercial activities in response to this ad are not appreciated.




  • Postdoc
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • max. €4065 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 3330


Science Park 104, 1098XG, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 31 Oct 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).