Postdoc on Quantum Accelerometers for Inertial Navigation

Delft University of Technology


Postdoc: Quantum Accelerometers for Inertial Navigation


Department/faculty: Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

Level: Doctorate

Working hours: 38.0 hours weekly

Contract: 1 year with possible extension to 2.5 years upon satisfactory performance

Salary: 3389 - 4274 euros monthly (full-time basis)


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering


This position will be a collaborative effort between Quantum Nanoscience (QN) and the Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) departments. The emphasis is on bringing quantum technologies from the lab to real commerical sensors. The Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) 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 miniaturisation 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 Department of Quantum Nanoscience studies quantum phenomena in a wide variety of nanometer scale devices and materials, exploring new physics and novel applications of quantum effects. The department consists of a number of active scientists working on both experimental and theoretical aspects of Quantum Nanoscience. The research is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, in particular the cleanroom facility Kavli Nanolab Delft for the fabrication and inspection of functional nanostructures.Quantum Nanoscience is part of the university's successful Kavli Institute of Nanoscience established by the US-based Kavli foundation and part of the renowned Casimir Research School, a joint graduate school of the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft and the Leiden Institute of Physics. The vacant position is in the Dynamics of Micro and Nanosystems (DMN) group. The group focuses on exploiting dynamics of small scale systems to create technologies that can lead to new products in the fields of scientific instrumentation, consumer electronics and healthcare. Our research spans from measuring and manipulating materials at the micro and nano scale, to the design of world-class MEMS and NEMS sensors and actuators.

The 3mE Faculty trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking 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.


Job description


Accelerometry is at the heart of a number of crucial technologies from inertial navigations to high-precision machinery. It is becoming ever more important that such systems operate in harsh environmental conditions and with quantum precision in order work autonomously from global positioning systems. Optomechanical devices based on movable nanophotonic structures offer one of the best routes towards such technologies.

At the TU Delft, we have developed the world’s most sensitive micro-mirror force sensors using highly-strained membrane materials. We now want to utilize these capabilities towards measuring accelerations in a new quantum limited regime in a form that can be readily utilized for a multi-billion euro industry. This postdoctoral position will require a focus on experimental development, simulations and nano-fabrication of computer-simulated designs.

At the TU Delft we can manipulate and engineer the highly sensitive sensors with ultra-thin materials to realize unprecedented vibration isolation which allow us to measure atto-Newton forces. Since previous design methods were limited by fabrication, we want to create novel designs of mechanical sensors at the nanoscale where we aim to dramatically improve the performance of these sensors via hybrid a approach that combines photonic and phononic designs. This will allow us to create sensors which perform far beyond the capabilities of previous designs. This represents a unique opportunity to create a new line of sensor research by coupling the latest in meta-material design with the ability to nanofabricate very complex designs on a microchip. 

As a Postdoc you will be working on (1) simulation of the nanophotonics device by finite element analyses; (2) principles of inertial navigation using accelometers and micro-mirror sensors (3) experimental validation of the new sensor. The goal is to demonstrate and characterize acceleration sensitivities of these new devices in a prototype.




Applicants must have the following qualifications:

    • strong experimental skills (preferably in optics), experience in finite element method simulations and/or nanofabrication


    • a background in engineering or physics


    • excitement to learn state-of-the-art nanofabrication


    • an interest in quantum technologies and applications in nanophotonics industry


    • the ability to work well in a collaborative setting


    • good understanding of the following articles is a plus:                                                               R. A. Norte, J. P. Moura, S. Groeblacher, Phys. Rev. Lett 116, 147202 (2016) and A.G.  Krause et al. Nature Photonics 6 (11) 768, (2012)



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.

‘TU Delft creates equal opportunities and encourages women to apply’  


Information and application


If you have specific questions about this position, please contact Dr. Richard Norte, Assistant Professor, e-mail:, tel: +31(0)15-278 6504, or Dr. Simon Groeblacher, Associate Professor, email: For information about the selection procedure, please contact  Irina Bruckner, email: 


To apply, please submit:

    • a letter of motivation explaining why you are the right candidate for this project,


    • a detailed CV with a complete publication list,


    • a copy of your top two publications,


    • the names and contact addresses of two or three references.

All these items should be combined in one PDF document. Applications should be submitted by email at the earliest convenience to When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number 3mE19-68.

In your application, please refer to