PhD on GHz subsurface Atomic Force Microscopy

Delft University of Technology


PhD: GHz subsurface Atomic Force Microscopy


Department/faculty: Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

Level: University Graduate

Working hours: 38-40 hours weekly

Contract: Temporary, 4 years

Salary: 2325 - 2972 euros monthly (full-time basis)


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering


The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in ground-breaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits. 

The Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) of the 3mE faculty focuses on developing knowledge and methods for small, innovative, high-precision devices and systems, such as precision equipment and scientific instrumentation for the high-tech industry. Increasing miniaturization and function density along with improving precision, speed and reliability are the key topics in our work. Our approach is multidisciplinary, fundamental and inspired by industry needs.

The vacant position is in the Dynamics of Micro and Nanosystems (DMN) research group. The group focuses on exploiting the dynamics and electromechanics to create technologies for the extreme miniaturization of sensors and actuators. Our research topics span from the implementation of new nanoscale materials, to the modeling and characterization of their high frequency dynamics, towards their implementation in small and accurate sensors and actuators for new applications. You will be working in a challenging international environment in one of the best technical universities of Europe, with access to the state-of-the art micro-nano testing facilities and advanced numerical modelling tools. You will participate in a large team with strong industrial and academic collaborations.


Job description


The possibility of characterizing the subsurface structure of samples with nanometre resolution is getting increasingly important nowadays. This is due to the ever-ongoing miniaturization in the semiconductor industry, where accurate metrology is becoming a key-element for lithographic process control. Within this project, you will generate and detect GHz ultrasound pulses in sample materials. The scattering of these pulses on the internal structure of the samples allows for their subsurface characterization.

It is expected that you will:

    1. Develop and conduct research on GHz Ultrasound  in atomic force microscopy.


    1. Setup the experimental platform required for this project.


    1. Perform experimental research, including a proof-of-concept for detecting the ultrashort acoustic pulses.


    1. Writing a doctoral dissertation, publishing results in renowned peer reviewed journals and presenting research in international conferences.


    1. Engage in education activities, such as supervising master students.





You should have the following qualifications:

    • MSc in mechanical engineering, physics, materials science or a related area.


    • Experience with atomic force microscopy.


    • Modelling and nonlinear dynamics skills or experience in experimental dynamics at the microscale and/or experience with ultrasound sensing are appreciated.


    • Good communication skills and ability to be a team-player in a multidisciplinary setting.


    • Self-starter with initiative and ability to setup, organise and execute your research.



Conditions of employment


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education program aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.


Information and application


For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr. Gerard Verbiest, Assistant Professor, email:, tel: +31 (0)15 278 6504, or: Prof.dr. Peter Steeneken, email:

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Irina Bruckner, HR-advisor, email:


Applications should include: a letter of motivation, a detailed CV including publication list, summary of academic record or research experience, preferred starting date, proof of English language skills (if applicable), and names of three references. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number 3mE19-69.

Please e-mail your application to Irina Bruckner, email: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

In your application, please refer to