PhD-student: Chiral non-equilibrium routes

Date posted January 15, 2020
Type PhD positions

The Self-Organization matter group seeks a talented PhD student who is eager to work on developing new routes towards molecules of single handedness.

In this interdisciplinary project, your research will focus on developing novel physical/chemical strategies for isolating enantiomerically pure molecules. Enantiopure building blocks are essential for construction of many bioactive molecules, but synthesis thereof is oftentimes complicated. Crystallization of conglomerates is highly beneficial for the isolation of enantiopure compounds. Unfortunately, a major bottleneck is the fact that only 5-10% of intrinsically chiral compounds are thermodynamically stable as conglomerates—most form unsuitable racemic compounds, and this behaviour is furthermore unpredictable. Tackling this challenge will require a fundamental breakthrough to uncover entirely new principles. You will exploit new physical/chemical methods to overcome these thermodynamic limitations. The results of this study will hold direct relevance for our fundamental understanding and ability to control kinetically stabilized solid phases by liberating them from their thermodynamic constraints.

At AMOLF you will work in close connection to other group members, have the opportunity to guide MSc students, and be involved in all aspects of design, realization, and interpretation of these experiments. Our group offers a highly collaborative atmosphere and combines expertise ranging from organic chemistry to nanophysics and materials science.

About the group

The Self-Organizing Matter group focuses on the dynamic interplay between chemical reactions and assembly phenomena to control the emergence of complexity in the solid state. In particular, the group aims to design physical-chemical concepts to self-organize microscale devices and functional molecules.

The group combines expertise ranging from organic chemistry to nanophysics and materials science. Collectively we seek to understand, design and control fundamental physical chemical principles to create complexity, ultimately leading to new assembly mechanisms for functional molecules and materials.


We seek an excellent candidate with a background in chemistry with experience in a field such as physical chemistry, organic chemistry, solid state chemistry or material science. You will need to meet the requirements for an MSc-degree, to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination.

Terms of employment

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. 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.

Contact info

Dr. Wim Noorduin
Group leader Self-Organizing Matter

Phone: +31 020 754 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). 

–  List of followed courses and grades

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.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

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