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PhD Position in Tunable Metasurfaces for Analog Image Processing

University of Amsterdam

University of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands
USD per year
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2022


Are you a highly-motivated physicist with a strong interest in nanotechnology and optoelectronic experiments? The 2D Nanophotonics group within the Institute of Physics is seeking an excellent and ambitious PhD candidate to perform fundamental research at the interface of nanophotonics and two-dimensional (2D) quantum materials for the project "Tunable metasurfaces for analog image processing".

Optical image processing is at the heart of many new technologies, including augmented reality, autonomous driving, and optical eye tracking. It is usually performed by digital processing of images that are captured by a digital camera, and is thus very energy-intensive and limited in speed. Recently, it has been demonstrated that optical metasurfaces - 2D geometries composed of nanoscale light scatterers - can be designed to perform mathematical operations on optical images directly in the analog optical domain, without the need for electronic processing. This enables highly parallelized image processing at the speed of light, where the mathematical operation is defined by the nanoscale geometry of the sample.

**In this project, you will combine dielectric metasurfaces with exciton resonances in 2D quantum materials to develop the next generation of tunable metasurfaces that can actively switch their mathematical operation.**With these nanoscale devices, you will study what range of mathematical operations can be performed, characterize the fundamental limits of minimal energy consumption, and explore the integration of these computing metasurface directly onto a CMOS camera.

You will be joining an exciting team of researchers with a strong emphasis on collaboration.

What are you going to do?

You will perform fundamental research on the understanding, control, and use of monolayer 2D van der Waals materials in nanophotonic metasurfaces with an electrically-controllable optical function.

You will:

  • fabricate optical metasurfaces and nanoscale devices in the cleanroom of the AMOLF NanoLab Amsterdam (;
  • design and perform high-sensitivity optical and electronic experiments;
  • develop theory and computer simulations to support the experiments;
  • present your results in international workshops and conferences;
  • collaborate with other members of the research group, other groups within the Quantum Materials cluster, AMOLF, and (international) collaborators;
  • take part in the teaching efforts of the group, including supervision of bachelor and master students.


You have:

  • a creative, curious and driven nature;
  • a Master's degree in physics;
  • an eagerness to learn new techniques and to combine numerical simulations, theory and experiments;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Other skills, experiences, and documents that would benefit your application:

  • previous experience in an optics lab or cleanroom fabrication;
  • demonstrated experience with programming and modelling software (matlab, python, Comsol, Lumerical);
  • scientific publications.


Are you curious to read more about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits, take a look here.A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). The preferred starting date is as soon as possible. This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and dependent on relevant experience, ranges between € 2,443 to € 3,122 (scale P). This does not include 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment at Science Park we offer you multiple fringe benefits:232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January; multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre; a complete educational program for PhD students; multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff; multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses; 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary; partly paid parental leave; the possibility to set up a workplace at home; a pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution; the possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch; help with housing for a studio or small apartment when you're moving from abroad.


Faculty of Science

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

This PhD project will be carried out in the 2D Nanophotonics labheaded by Dr. Jorik van de Groep within the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute (WZI), the experimental division of the Institute of Physicsof the University of Amsterdam. Our laboratory focusses on photonic metasurfaces with 2D materials and benefits from an exceptional scientific environment in hard condensed matter, nanophotonics, and materials science. The Institute of Physics is part of the Faculty of Science.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

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