PhD-position: Quantum nano-optomechanics

Work Activities

The Photonic Forces group at AMOLF is looking for PhD students to join our team working on the intriguing physics of nano-optomechanical systems. We are fascinated by the ability of light to measure and control mechanical motion in new and powerful ways. We seek to challenge the limits of mechanical precision measurements, and devise new ways to manipulate the quantum states of macroscopic objects. These projects are at the interface of quantum physics, photonics, and nano-engineering. They have a mainly experimental character, but feature strong ties to the rich theoretical background.

Our group offers an open and collaborative environment in which we focus on hands-on learning and personal growth of all group members. We are looking for excited and talented students, who are eager to develop new skills and engage new experimental and theoretical challenges.

You will use the extreme interactions between photons and phonons that are realized when light and motion are co-localized at nanometer scales in carefully designed resonators. With these, we see on the one hand to push the known boundaries of mechanical metrology: exploring whether quantum limits of displacement detection can be evaded by smart measurement protocols, and whether concepts like quantum squeezing and entanglement can boost sensor performance. On the other hand, we want to use these optomechanical interactions to control the quantum states of mechanical resonators, and see the strange predictions of quantum physics in action in tangible, macroscopic objects.

During your PhD, you will learn and employ all aspects of quantum nano-optomechanics research: from conceptual design and modelling to nanofabrication in the cleanroom, and from high-precision optical interferometry at cryogenic temperatures to writing papers and presenting your results at international conferences.


We seek an excellent candidate with a background in physics, with relevant experience (preferably in quantum optics, photonics, (nano)mechanics or general AMO physics). You will need to meet the requirements for an MSc-degree, to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination. We strongly believe in the benefits of an inclusive and diverse workplace, and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply.

Work environment

The Photonic Forces team led by prof. Ewold Verhagen studies light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. We investigate the fundamental physics associated with such interactions, which are enhanced through optical field confinement in tailored nanophotonic systems, as well as the applications they allow. In particular, we study new ways to control both light and motion down to the quantum level in optomechanical systems. All projects in the group involve the use and development of advanced optical measurement techniques and nanofabrication, with extensive support from the group leader and AMOLF technical staff. Within the group as well as among the different groups at AMOLF, we have a strong focus on stimulating development of students in all professional aspects, as well as collaborations with other researchers at AMOLF and beyond. We strive to create a diverse and inclusive environment where passion and enjoyment of science can shine. For more information, see and

Working conditions

  • The working atmosphere at the institute is largely determined by young, enthusiastic, mostly foreign employees. Communication is informal and runs through short lines of communication.
  • The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years
  • The starting salary is 2.781 Euro’s gross per month and a range of employment benefits.
  • After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at a Dutch University.
  • Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students.
  • AMOLF assists any new foreign PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

More information?

Prof.dr. Ewold Verhagen
Group leader Photonic Forces
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100


You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).

It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

Diversity code

AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment: we want to develop talent and creativity by bringing together people from different backgrounds and cultures. We recruit and select on the basis of competencies and talents. We strongly encourage anyone with the right qualifications to apply for the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, sexual orientation or physical ability.

AMOLF has won the NNV Diversity Award 2022, which is awarded every two years by the Netherlands Physical Society for demonstrating the most successful implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

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