PhD position: Quantum spin Hall effect in germanene

PhD position: Quantum spin Hall effect in germanene

Germanene, the germanium analogue of graphene, shares many properties with its carbon counterpart graphene. In contrast to graphene, germanene does not occur in nature and therefore this two-dimensional material has to be synthesized. In 2014 various research groups, including the Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials group in Twente, have succeeded to grow germanene. The current project builds on these results and aims to study the quantum spin Hall effect in germanene. The quantum spin Hall effect (QSHE), a novel nontrivial topological quantum state of matter, has been proposed in 2005 by Kane and Mele for graphene. Due to the spin-orbit coupling a band gap opens in the interior of graphene, whereas the edges of graphene exhibit topologically protected gapless spin-polarized edges states. Unfortunately, the spin-orbit gap in graphene is very small (0.02 meV) and therefore the QSHE in graphene only occurs at extremely low temperatures. Germanene has a spin-orbit gap that is 3 orders of magnitude larger than graphene. This means that the QSHE of germanene would be observable at experimentally accessible temperatures.

Job description

The candidate will grow and study the structural and electronic properties of germanene using a variety of surface science technique, including low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy and low energy electron microscopy. The experimental results will be compared with available theoretical calculations and predictions.

For more information regarding germanene we refer to the open access review article:

Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials (PIN) group

MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology and Faculty of Science and Technology

University of Twente

P.O. Box 217

7500AE Enschede, The Netherlands

We are looking for talented, motivated and enthusiastic candidates with a MSc degree in physics or applied physics, preferably with a specialization in condensed matter physics. Excellent experimental skills and a good command of English are essential.

Conditions of employment

When fulfilling a PhD position at the FOM Foundation, you will get the status of junior scientist.
You will have an employee status and can participate in all the employee benefits FOM offers. You will get a contract for four years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 2,718 euro gross per month. The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8 percent and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33 percent.
You are supposed to have a thesis finished at the end of your four year term with FOM.
A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible (up to a maximum of ten percent of your time). The conditions of employment of the FOM Foundation are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under
Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English). General information about working at FOM can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The 'FOM job interview code' applies to this position.

For more detailed information, please contact Harold Zandvliet


Please send your application, including a curriculum vitae, a motivation letter and a reference letter to:!/vacature/893623