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PhD in defect formation and dynamics in colloidal crystals

PhD in defect formation and dynamics in colloidal crystals

Are you eager to work on understanding crystallization processes and the mistakes that can occur? This project focuses on the development and application of novel responsive colloidal systems to understand how defects form, move, and interact on the smallest scale.
Faculteit Technische Natuurkunde


Control over the structure of matter on multiple length scales is needed for the development of new materials with novel mechanical, optical or electronic functionalities. One of the most promising design strategies in material science is the fabrication of molecular, nanoparticle and colloidal building blocks which can spontaneously self-organize into larger complex superstructures. Such new materials find increasing use in many everyday applications, ranging from electronic devices, to coatings and paints, and to the food and drug industry. The reason that not all potential of these materials is exploited is that their preparation depends sensitively on directing the self-assembly of the building blocks into the desired predesigned structures. The reality is that defects can occur in any lattice and influence the materials mechanical, structural, and optical properties.

In this project you will use temperature sensitive colloidal systems to develop strategies to investigate defect formation and diffusion in colloidal crystals with quantitative confocal microscopy. These real-space experiments will be complemented with small angle x-ray scattering measurements. The research will involve experiments (colloidal synthesis, confocal microscopy, and x-ray scattering) and quantitative image analysis to visualize defects and local forces (using already available tools). The final aim is to gain new insights into the mechanisms of defect diffusion, defect interactions, and collective dynamics of defects on a single-particle level and to be able to relate the local defect dynamics to the global response in the crystalline materials.

You will be part of the newly established Experimental Soft Matter group of Dr. Janne-Mieke Meijer, which is embedded in the Department of Applied Physics and the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems. The group works in close collaboration with the Theory of Polymers and Soft Matter group, the Self-Organizing Soft Matter group, and the Physical Chemistry group. The group focusses on experimental investigations of complex colloidal systems to discover the fundamental principles of how building block design influences self-organization and how to control the assembly process to engineer new materials.


  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in experimental physics, physical chemistry, or similar.
  • Practical skills in colloid/polymer synthesis and/or quantitative optical microscopy.
  • Previous experience in development of particle tracking routines (Python, Matlab) and/or small angle x-ray scattering is a plus (but not required).
  • Interest in collaborating with different groups in the Applied Physics and Chemical Engineering and Chemistry departments.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.


  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Informatie en sollicitatie


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Janne-Mieke Meijer, j.meijer1[at]

For information about terms of employment, please contact HR, hrservices.flux[a]

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Academic transcripts.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.