MESA+ University of Twente

PostDoc posistion in the Darwin-on-a-Chip project


Realizing robust computational functionality in disordered, nanomaterials systems with as ultimate goal more powerful and energy-efficient unconventional computer architectures.

This position is shared between the NanoElectronics Group within the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and the Programmable Nanosystems Group within the CTIT Institute.

Man-made and natural (Nature-made) information processing systems differ greatly. Whereas computers are based on circuits of functional units, following rigid design rules, Nature exploits the emergent behavior and massive parallelism of highly interconnected networks of locally active components (such as neurons). Evolution has resulted in living systems that can perform an astounding amount of computation relatively quickly and at low energy cost, utilizing whatever physical properties are available and exploitable to enhance the fitness for survival. However, in conventional computational paradigms, such as those of Von Neumann and Turing, many of the physical processes that may be exploited to solve a problem, are left out.


In this 2-year project, the PostDoc will artificially evolve the electrical properties of disordered nanomaterial systems to perform a variety of computational tasks in one and the same system. He/she will exploit the rich behavior emerging from interconnected nanoparticles, acting as strongly non-linear single-electron transistors. Our first experimental results (Nature Nanotechnology, 2015) show that this architecture can be configured in situ into any Boolean logic gate (a quintessential property). These results suggest that our system meets the criteria for the physical realization of (cellular) neural networks: universality (arbitrary Boolean functions by changing the control parameters), compactness (few control parameters needed to satisfy universality), robustness (robust against fluctuations in control parameters) and evolvability (capability to be evolved into desired functionality), implying scalability to perform more advanced tasks.

The PostDoc will focus on scaling up the NP network approach by coupling several networks. We expect that this will enable us to carry out more complex computational tasks such as classification, pattern/speech recognition, data compression, and simulation of complex processes. The PostDoc will collaborate closely with a PhD student in an interdisciplinary team of experimental and theoretical physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists.


We are looking for a PostDoc who is a skilled experimentalist with a PhD degree in (applied) physics or engineering. Experience with electron transport measurements, micro/nano fabrication and characterization techniques is considered advantageous. Our favored candidates are creative and like to push boundaries. We expect the candidate to have excellent command of the English language as well as professional communication and presentation skills.

For further information you can contact Prof. Wilfred van der Wiel at

Candidates are invited to upload their application at the UT web address, including a short motivation letter, references, and CV to the application button below.


Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of the Dutch Universities. Gross monthly salary depends on experience and qualifications and ranges from € 3044,-- to € 3997,--.

Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%), an end of year bonus (amounts to 8.3%) and a number of additional benefits.


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.

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) comprises three disciplines that shape Information and Communication Technology. ICT is more than communication. In almost every product we use mathematics, electronics and computer technology and ICT now contributes to all of societies' activities. 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. The research which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+, CTIT and MIRA.