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PhD opening in high-frequency nanocapacitor arrays

PhD position: CMOS-Based Nanocapacitor Arrays

Project description

Biosensors that rely solely on electrical detection are highly desirable for integration with electronics on the same chip, enabling new assays based on ‘digital’ detection. Instead of measuring the average response to a large number of molecules, digital sensors aim to detect individual molecular interactions as discrete, countable events at large numbers of parallel detectors, thus achieving extreme sensitivities. An important bottleneck, however, has been the lack of a suitable method for easily converting single-entity (bio)chemical information directly into electrical signals. Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), which uses AC signals to probe the medium near an electrode, is in principle ideally suited for this purpose, but stray capacitance has largely prevented its use in nanoscale systems. We have previously demonstrated (C. Laborde et al., Nature Nanotech. 10, 791 (2015)) that this technical hurdle can be overcome by integrating the electrodes directly into a CMOS microelectronics chip, yielding massive arrays of individually addressable nanoelectrodes that can be operated at frequencies that are orders of magnitude higher than previously possible. In the present project, we will explore the use of this platform to develop massively parallel digital assays, with the ultimate aim of detecting and fingerprinting individual macromolecules in a label-free manner. The project is a close collaboration with semiconductors industry partner NXP.


You will work in the Bioelectronics group at the University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands ( We are an internationally oriented group conducting both fundamental research and exploring new applications at the interface between physics, electrochemistry and nanoscience. Ongoing research lines include high-frequency detection in liquid at high-frequency nanoelectrode arrays, conducting polymers as ‘electrical labels’ in biosensors, electrochemical nanofluidics and single-molecule strategies for trace-level liquid biopsies. The project is further embedded in SENTINEL, a Europe-wide training network in single-entity nanoelectrochemistry, and will include spending significant time at industrial and academic partner organizations.

Your profile

You have a background in physics, physical chemistry, electrical engineering or a closely related discipline. You have strong communication skills, including fluency in written and spoken English. You are enthusiastic, highly motivated to do a PhD and can function in a broader team. While our primary focus is on experiments, interests and aptitudes in theory are also desirable.

Our offer

We want you to play a key role in an ambitious project in an inspiring and stimulating international work environment.

  • We provide excellent mentorship and a modern research environment with world-class research facilities, including a state-of-the-art cleanroom. You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years (3 years within SENTINEL plus one additional year) and can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers. You will be embedded in a dynamic research group with colleagues working on related topics. Additionally, the UT is a green campus with excellent facilities and resources for professional and personal development. You will follow a high-quality personalized educational program, being trained within SENTINEL by several of Europe’s most distinguished nanoelectrochemists. The research will result in a PhD thesis at the end of the employment period. We strive for diversity and fairness in hiring.


For more information about the position, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Prof. Serge G. Lemay ( directly.

The application process for SENTINEL positions is conducted centrally. Instructions on how to apply, as well as a detailed list of requirements, can be found on the EURAXESS website ( Review of candidates will begin on 28 February 2019 and will continue until the vacancy has been filled.