Postdoc position: materials physics & crystal growth of 3D topological insulators

TI PD MatPhys xtal

Research background

The Netherlands has a FOM-funded, national research programme on Topological Insulators, co-ordinated out of Amsterdam (programme leader, Mark Golden) with project leaders Alexander Brinkman (Twente), Leo Kouwenhoven (Delft), Carlo Beenakker (Leiden), Jan Zaanen (Leiden) and Kareljan Schoutens (Amsterdam).

The primary aims of the FOM Topological Insulators programme are to create, investigate and control the novel electronic, magnetic and superconducting properties arising from topologically protected states in 2D and in particular 3D insulating systems.

This TI field is globally one of great dynamism, with the unique properties of topological insulators seen to make these systems promising candidate materials for spintronic applications and even for topological quantum information processing.

The Amsterdam QMat group (Prof. Mark S. Golden, Dr. Anne de Visser, Dr. Erik van Heumen, Dr. Yingkai Huang) has been making excellent progress in the generation of truly bulk-insulating 3D topological insulators in the Bi,Sb,Te,Se-family of materials and a lively collaboration has been set up with the group at Twente on interfacing these materials with superconductors and building devices for nanotransport experiments. In house, the Amsterdam team is also growing potential topological superconductors based on metal-intercalated Bi2Se3 and half-Heusler systems, and is using high-resolution angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy and low-T STM/STS to study the electronic (surface) states of all these topological materials in k- and real space, as well as conducting (magneto)transport investigations of the same systems.

Job description

This two-year postdoc research associate (PDRA) position is ideal for an experienced and ambitious physicist with clear interest and experience in materials or a materials scientist with a keen interest in physics. There are many avenues still open to explore in both the bulk synthesis/growth of these materials and in their spectroscopic and transport investigation, with - for example - potential Weyl fermion systems being a topic of current interest. Fully equipped laboratories for materials preparation and single crystal growth (Czochralski, Bridgeman, TSFZ-optical furnaces) are the main tools at the disposal of the PDRA, as are physical characterization tools such as X-ray diffraction (powder and Laue) and a new PPMS set-up for measuring key transport parameters of the crystals grown. Dr. Huang provides the day to day leadership of the crystal growth effort, and has many years experience of top-level crystal growth of intermetallics (heavy fermions, U-compounds, Fe pnictides, magnetocaloric systems, topological insulators) and oxides (cuprates, manganites, etc.).

Prior experience of (solid state) materials preparation is a precondition, and experience of crystal growth is an advantage. Given appropriate experience, inclination and speedy success in the crystal growth, participation in other activities here in Amsterdam (FT-STS, ARPES, synchrotron based work, mK and high field transport) is also possible.


The QMat group is part of the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, itself a division of the IoP at the University of Amsterdam. The group's research focuses on the experimental investigation of the electronic structure and properties of quantum matter and emergent materials. The systems we work on are at the forefront of fundamental solid state physics research, but also possess potential for eventual application in future technologies connected to energy (superconductors), spintronics (topological insulators, magnetoresistive systems) and nanoscience (1D systems, oxide heterointerfaces).

The IoP is situated in new, purpose-built laboratories and teaching space in the building of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam in the Science Park Amsterdam. This location also plays host to numerous national research institutes such as AMOLF (nanophotonics, biomolecular systems, photovoltaics), NIKHEF (Subatomic Physics) and CWI (mathematics and Computer Science), as well as ARCNL (Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography, which combines the leading Dutch tech firm ASML with both Amsterdam universities and AMOLF).


PhD in solid state/materials physics, material science or solid state chemistry. Prior experience of solid state materials synthesis and interest in crystal growth.

Conditions of employment

You will be employed by the FOM-foundation for a fixed period of two years.
Your salary will be up to a maximum of 3,922 euro gross per month, depending on your level of experience. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33%.

The conditions of employment of the FOM-foundation are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).
General information about working at FOM can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The 'FOM job interview code' applies to this position.


The applications window on the FOM webpage for this position has closed. We are currently going through the applications. If you still want to try and squeeze an application in - then hurry!. Send the following to me via email:

A cv, list of publications, contact coordinates of at least three references and a motivation as to why you candidate wish to join the group to do this project (maximum one A4). Applications without this motivation statement will not be considered, but those including this will get our full attention.

All documents should be in the form of .pdf files, no .doc or .docx, please (we won't open them).

Prof.dr. Mark S. Golden
Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute
University of Amsterdam

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