PhD Position in K-Space Spectroscopy of Topological Materials

University of Amsterdam Institute of Physics

PhD position in k-space spectroscopy of topological materials using ARPES

Publication date 8 March 2021

Closing date 15 April 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-154

Are you a highly-motivated MSc graduate in physics or closely related discipline with a strong affinity for quantum and condensed-matter physics experiments?

We are seeking an excellent and ambitious PhD candidate to perform research using state-of-the-art photoemission spectroscopy as a searchlight for new topological quantum materials. This 4-year PhD project is ideal for a physics or strongly-physics-oriented MSc graduate curious to explore how topological quantum materials work at the microscopic level and ambitious to carry out experimental condensed matter physics research at the highest level using the most modern tools.

The project is part of the research programme of the Quantum Materials Amsterdam ( research group, and is based in the angle resolved photoemission (ARPES) lab run by Prof. Mark S. Golden.

Topological phases emerge in materials where discrete symmetries combine to create twists in the electronic structure. Only fairly recently do we know these are common in quantum materials and provide an unexpected gateway to an exiting combination of the fundamental physics of new phases of matter and the exploration of new functional materials with possible application in low power information and quantum technologies.

Topological quantum materials show special signatures ARPES is particularly good at picking up:

  • linear dispersion relation (k) and protected band crossings for bulk (Dirac) states or topological surface states;
  • locking of the spin of electronic states to their crystal momentum, k;
  • special surface states that take the form of an arc, joining the surface projection of bulk Weyl points.

This means ARPES and its relations laserARPES, spinARPES and nanoARPES are at the vanguard of our search for and understanding of topological electronic materials, often able to identify topologically non-trivial phases in new materials before transport and other bulk experiments are able to do so. ARPES is simply the best searchlight in the world of topological materials.

The Amsterdam ARPES lab hosts a state-of-the-art laserARPES experimental set-up (we call AMSTEL), a powerful searchlight for topological phases, and this will be the centre-piece of your research project, if you become the new member of our team.

The QMat ARPES group has many years’ experience in the spectroscopic investigation of various topological materials (Bi based topological insulators and Dirac semimetals) and QMat colleagues are active in research into topologically active half-Heusler materials & 2D dichalcogenide materials. As of 1 March 2021, Dr Anna Isaeva has joined QMat from the TU Dresden/IFW Dresden as a new group leader. She is world leader in magnetic topological materials and this PhD project is perfectly placed to profit from a new and strong collaboration on this topic, also founded on a new joint laboratory between IoP in Amsterdam and IFW Dresden.

What are you going to do?

You will:

  • use ARPES to hunt for spectroscopic signatures of topological behaviour in new materials by measuring the electronic structure of 3D Weyl, Dirac semi-metals and topological insulators;
  • join-in and eventually lead ARPES experiments at international large-scale facilities such as synchrotron light sources (e.g. in UK, France, Switzerland, Sweden);
  • build on existing, purpose-written data analysis software to extract maximal physics information from your experimental data;
  • learn to master ultrahigh vacuum technology and pulsed UV laser, VUV and X-ray light sources;
  • collaborate with other research groups (both experimental and theoretical) within QMat, as well as elsewhere in the Netherlands and further afield;
  • write up your results for publication in international journals and a PhD thesis;
  • present your results in national and international workshops/conferences;
  • participate in the teaching and outreach effort of the group, including supervision of Bachelor and Master students.

If you’re excited to learn how to use advanced electron spectroscopies such as laser-ARPES to push the frontier in new quantum materials research in a world-class scientific setting, in one of the most attractive cities, then this could be the job for you.

What do we require?

You should hold an MSc. in Physics, or a strongly Physics-oriented track record in materials, Physical chemistry or Engineering disciplines.

Other skills/experiences/documents that would benefit your application are:

  • previous experience in a condensed matter physics lab, materials physics lab or spectroscopy lab;
  • working knowledge of a programming language (Igor, python, MATLAB, C++ or equivalent);
  • firm footing in (theoretical) condensed matter physics;
  • excellent English oral and written communication skills;
  • scientific publications and/or a reference letter from your MSc. thesis advisor.

Our offer

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and Master students. 

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Prof. Mark Golden

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute of Physics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The QMat group is part of the Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, itself a division of the Institute of Physics (IoP) at the University of Amsterdam. The group's research focuses on the experimental investigation of the electronic structure and properties of quantum matter and emergent materials. The systems we work on are at the forefront of fundamental solid-state physics research, but also possess potential for eventual application in future technologies connected to energy (superconductors), spintronics (topological insulators, magnetoresistive systems) and nanoscience (1D systems, oxide heterointerfaces).

The IoP is situated in new, purpose-built laboratories and teaching space in the building of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam in the Science Park Amsterdam. This location also plays host to numerous national research institutes such as AMOLF (nanophotonics, biomolecular systems, photovoltaics), NIKHEF (Subatomic Physics) and CWI (mathematics and Computer Science), as well as ARCNL (Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography, which combines the leading Dutch tech firm ASML with both Amsterdam universities and AMOLF). QMat is also affiliated to the national research center for Quantum Software, QuSoft, also housed in the Science Park Amsterdam.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 15 April 2021. You may apply online by using the link below. 

Applications in a single .pdf (that can be uploaded in the field marked CV) should include:

  1. a full CV;
  2. a one-page motivation statement why you have chosen to apply for this particular position;
  3. title and a brief summary of your Master thesis research;
  4. and details of scientific publications (if applicable);

Applicants with a MSc degree other than Physics are requested to additionally include details underpinning their affinity with condensed matter & quantum physics and their motivation for now wanting to pursue a PhD in experimental physics.

Applications will be processed on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been identified.

Apply now

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