PhD Position in Dissipative and Active Metamaterials

University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science


PhD position: Dissipative and Active Metamaterials

Publication date 19 February 2020
Closing date 1 May 2020
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacancy number 20-117

Are you interested in designer matter? The University of Amsterdam is seeking an excellent, highly motivated PhD candidate to carry out interdisciplinary research at the frontier of metamaterials, physical mechanics and active matter.

What are you going to do?

Mechanical metamaterials have emerged as the most promising platform for the rational design of ‘extreme’ functionalities. Importantly, such advanced properties are typically designed through a purely geometrical framework. Yet, this impressive progress is so far confined to the control of deformations. This traditional focus severely limits our understanding of metamaterials and their potential for applications where dissipation is often a crucial aspect. In this project you will research how the extreme mechanics of metamaterials (i) can be used to achieve on-demand dissipation of shocks and vibrations and (ii) can be revolutionized by the use of active processes. You will develop a completely new framework to allow for dissipative and active degrees of freedom, and you will validate it through a wide array of experimental and numerical techniques. This breakthrough will lead to powerful tools to capture the physics of a new generation of dissipative and active metamaterials and to design advanced mechanical functionalities tailored to dynamic scenarios. Beyond advancing fundamental knowledge in physics and solid mechanics of metamaterials, this project will open avenues for shock and vibration damping to materials process applications, relevant in a wide range of industries, from prosthetics to automotive and aerospace.

What do we require?

  • Master’s degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, computational science or a related field;
  • a strong background in physics and mechanics;
  • experience with numerical simulations, theory and/or experiments and a strong taste for combining and learning different approaches;
  • a creative, curious and driven nature;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and 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 salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,325 to €2,972 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8,3 % end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute of Physics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 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 at the Machine Materials Laboratory, headed by Dr Corentin Coulais, and part of the Soft Matter Group within Institute of Physics (IoP). The laboratory focus on Mechanical Metamaterials and benefit from exceptional scientific environments, in soft and condensed matter, computational physics and advanced materials.

The IoP is situated in new, purpose-built laboratories and teaching space in the building of the Faculty of Science 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).


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Dr Corentin Coulais, Assistant professor 

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 1 May 2020. You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter, the motivation letter should state why you are specifically interested in the field of metamaterials;
  • a CV, including list of grades;
  • a pdf version of your MSc thesis (or if not finalized yet, an abstract);
  • if applicable, pdf versions of your scientific publications;
  • the name and email address of at least two referees, who will be asked to upload their recommendation letters.

Please upload all documents as a single PDF in the field marked CV. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Apply now

In your application, please refer to