Job description

The research goal of the Physics of Complex Fluids (PCF) group is to understand and control the physical and chemical properties of solid-liquid interfaces across multiple scales ranging from atomic scale adsorption processes to macroscopic chemical reactivity and wetting. The fundamental understanding that we generate is relevant to a variety of applications such as coating and printing technology, lubrication, (photo)catalysis, and oil recovery. To address the scientific questions we use a combination of experimental techniques including high resolution Atomic Force Microscopy, optical imaging techniques (confocal/fluorescence microscopy, interferometry, ellipsometry), Raman spectroscopy, microfluidics, (micro)rheology and various other analytical surface characterization tools.

The PCF group is part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, which offers advanced characterization and fabrication tools on the nanoscale as well as a stimulating environment with more than 250 PhD students working on various aspects of nanoscience and technology.

For a new project entitled:

NanoCarbonate: Understanding Microscopic Adsorption and Macroscopic Wetting Properties of Carbonate-Electrolyte-Oil Systems

in collaboration with an industrial partner we are looking for PhD and Postdoc candidates to analyze the properties of carbonate surfaces in contact with aqueous electrolytes of variable composition and the consequences of the electrolyte composition for the relative wettability of water and oil on the solid surface. Carbonate materials are abundant in nature and form a major part of the sediment rock on earth. Carbonates are one of the most important rock formations containing oil reservoirs. The efficiency of conventional oil recovery processes is rather poor, typically leaving between half and two thirds of the oil in the ground. To improve this situation, it is crucial to understand the relative adhesion of oil and water to carbonate minerals on the atomic scale and identify strategies how the minerals can be rendered more water wet in order to ease the release of oil. The goal of the project is to build up such understanding from basic principles first for idealized model systems and subsequently extending to more realistic complex fluids and surfaces.

The specific subprojects focus on the following aspects:

  • PhD 1: Stability and wettability of calcium carbonates by complex brines and oil
  • PhD 2: Local surface charge density and stability of carbonates-electrolyte interfaces studied by Atomic Force spectroscopy
  • PhD 3: High resolution AFM visualization of adsorption and desorption reactions at calcite-electrolyte and calcite-oil interfaces
  • PhD 4: Development of a high-pressure high temperature microfluidic chip for water-flooding oil recovery with integrated sensing capabilities (in collaboration with the Mesoscale Chemical Systems group; Prof. Han Gardeniers)
  • PD: Adhesion and chemical composition mapping on heterogeneous rock surfaces using confocal Raman and Atomic Force Microscopy

For more information about the specific subprojects, please visit PhD students will participate in the educational programme of the Twente Graduate School.


  • You hold a master degree in physics, (physical) chemistry, mechanical or chemical engineering.
  • You have good expertise in one or more of the following research areas: physics, (physical/analytical) chemistry, mechanical or chemical engineering.
  • You are driven to do good research in the area of the project.
  • You are fluent in English.


We offer a very challenging fulltime position in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

  • For the PhD positions the gross monthly salary starts with € 2222,- in the first year and increases to € 2840,- in the fourth year of your employment;
  • For the postdoc positions your gross monthly salary depends on experience and qualifications and ranges from € 3111.- to € 4084.-;
  • 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
Applications of highly motivated and driven students and postdocs from physics, chemistry, mechanical or chemical engineering with an appropriate background should be sent to before 10 December 2017. Applications should refer to one or two specific vacancy(ies) and must include a motivation letter explaining the specific interest of the candidate in the respective position. For a more detailed description of each position, please visit


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.