PhD / Postdoc in Experimental Physics, Leiden University, Netherlands

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Faculty of Science, Leiden Institute of Physics
The Leiden Institute of Physics is the oldest physics department in the Netherlands, with a long tradition of excellence in fundamental research. The current spectrum of research comprises subjects in condensed matter physics, nanoscience and nanotechnology, (bio-)molecular physics, quantum optics, cosmology & astroparticle physics, and the physics of biological and soft matter. The institute fosters an international atmosphere with strong interactions among the various groups as well as with other departments at the Faculty of Sciences.

The Interface Physics group uses various types of Scanning Probe Microscopy, Surface X-Ray Diffraction, and other techniques to investigate the structure and dynamic behavior of surfaces and interfaces. Most of the special-purpose instruments used in this research are home-built. Topics that we are working on at present include catalysis, nanotribology, deposition of graphene and other thin films,and nanobiology.

We offer a position for a:

PHD STUDENT / POSTDOC in Experimental Physics (38 hours a week)
On the subject “Live Observation of Film Growth with in-situ STM”
Vacancy Number: 11-136

The project:
We have developed a unique vacuum scanning tunneling microscope ( STM) that enables the observation of (polycrystalline) film growth in-situ and in real-time during the deposition [1]. Its special pivoting and rotating mechanism ensures the alignment of the deposition beam between the tip and the sample. In addition, this microscope is especially designed for high-speed imaging, which allows to record movies [2]. Within the framework of this project, we will use this microscope with the aim to unravel the underlying atomic processes that play a role in the morphology evolution both during film growth and after the deposition.

Thin polycrystalline metal films are becoming increasingly important, as is reflected in the multitude of applications in different fields [3]. The intrinsic link between the film properties and the precise film structure enables the production of films with tuned properties. Ideally one would like to control the morphology down to the nanometer scale, which requires full control on the atomic processes that take place during and after the deposition. However, there are examples that clearly demonstrate that we still lack information on the atomistic details and processes that take place during film growth. By using our special microscope we will shed a light on these processes thereby gathering fundamental knowledge.

[1] M.J. Rost, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 266101 (2007)
[2] M.J. Rost et al., Rev. Sci. Instr. 76, 053710-1 (2005)
[3] C.K. Hu et al., Mat. Chem. Phys. 52, 5 (1998)

Your profile
For this position, we are searching for an ambitious candidate with a recent M.Sc. degree in physics. The ideal applicant has

  • experience with Scanning Probe Microscopes, preferable STM,
  • experience with vacuum setups,
  • background knowledge in fundamental surface science and material science,
  • and a strong affinity and experience with the operation of complex instrumentation.

Furthermore you have excellent communications skills in English, both written and verbal, and are expected to master the Dutch language sufficiently.

Keywords are:
STM, film & crystal growth, polycrystalline films, intrinsic stress, diffusion, nucleation, surface science, phd, postdoc, Leiden.

We offer:
We offer a challenging environment to develop on-the-job the skills and networks that a successful academic needs. Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities ( CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten), for a period of one year with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility. Ultimately the appointment must lead to a completion of a PhD thesis. During your appointment you will be supervised by Dr. M.J. Rost as your co-promotor. Prof. J.W.M. Frenken will be you promotor.

The gross monthly salary is set on € 2.042,- in the first year up to € 2612,- in year four. An appointment with Leiden University includes a pension build-up and facilitates other benefits such as an annual holiday premium of 8% and an end-of-year premium of 8.3%.

Further information:
For more information, please visit the following website
More information on employment at Leiden University can be found at:

Do you identify with the profile above and do you aspire to have a career in research? Please apply by sending your written application before November 2011.

The electronically submitted application (*.pdf) should include the vacancy number, a motivation letter, a full CV, and copies / transcript of certifications including all possible marks from your study.

Please send your application to: Dr. M.J. Rost:

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.

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