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PhD vacancy: “Neuromorphic tunnel junctions based on dynamic molecular switches”

Job description

Inspired by the highly parallel, fault tolerant, and energy efficient manner our brains work, new materials are needed that can emulate the operation of the human brain for applications in, for example, next generation neuromorphic computing. We aim to create devices that emulate synaptic behavior at the molecular length-scale based on new types of multi-functional molecular switches that evolve and learn rather than toggle between predefined on/off states. These dynamical switches consist of multiple molecular components where fast electron transfer is coupled to slow reversible chemical reactions that lead to rich switching dynamics of the conductivity depending on the history of the switches. We have recently identified interesting candidates, but the challenge is to develop stable switches that can be readily incorporated in devices that mimic basic synaptic function needed to develop artificial neural networks.

Your task is to develop and prepare these new switches and study their dynamic behavior, improve their stability, and investigate in detail their switching mechanisms.

The fully financed 4yr PhD position is available at the University of Twente (UT), The Netherlands, within the Faculty of Science and Technology in the Nijhuis group of Hybrid Materials for OptoElectronics (HMOE). At the UT you are part of the unparalleled possibilities at MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and BRAINS (Center for Brain-Inspired NanoSytems).

Your profile

We seek for a colleague with a background in synthetic chemistry, surface chemistry, physical chemistry with a broad interest in nanoelectronics, switchable/smart materials, and characterization of such materials. Fabrication skills and hands-on experience with electrical measurements, or electrochemistry, are highly desirable. 

  • You have a MSc degree in chemistry, surface chemistry, or physical chemistry, or similar
  • You have demonstrated experience in the preparation/characterization of molecular switches, smart materials 
  • You have affinity with the development of new or extending existing characterization techniques.
  • You are an excellent team player in an enthusiastic group of scientists and engineers working on a common theme.
  • You are fluent in English and able to collaborate intensively with industrial and academic parties in regular meetings and work visits.

Our offer

The UT provides a dynamic and exciting scientific environment, lots of sports facilities (and other activities), and a green and lively campus. We offer a fulltime position with excellent working conditions in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment involving local and overseas collaborations:

  • A full-time 4-year PhD position;
  • Excellent mentorship in a stimulating research environment with excellent facilities;
  • The gross monthly salary starts with € 2395,- in the first year and increases to € 3061,- in the fourth year of your employment;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs.

Information and application

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity and inclusion at our University. We encourage applications from all sections of society.

Please send your application via the ‘Apply now’ button before September 1, 2021, and include:

  • A motivation letter describing why you apply for this position, with a description of your research interests and motivations (no more than 1 page A4)
  • Detailed Curriculum Vitae, including contact information for at least three academic references
  • Transcripts from your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degrees

Interviews will be held following the submission closure.

You are welcome to contact me, prof. dr. Christian A. Nijhuis on c.a.nijhuis@utwente.nl for more information about the vacancy.

About the organization

TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology)

The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PhD vacancy: “Neuromorphic tunnel junctions based on dynamic molecular switches”
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