PhD-student: Directed 3D nanofabrication with electrochemical scanning probes

Date posted May 15, 2020
Type PhD positions

Confined electrochemistry has the potential to create highly pure and crystalline nanostructures with controlled 3D geometry at low temperatures. However, so far, this has remained out of reach due to insufficient understanding of the (electrified) electrode-electrolyte interfaces and the charge transfer across them. This project aims to tackle these fundamental questions and pioneer the fabrication of three-dimensional nanostructures by controlled downscaled electrocrystallization with a high degree of placement control and material quality.

In this project, you will combine an electrochemical force scanning microscope with an optical spectroscope to perform nanoelectrochemistry in cooperation with a scanning probe company. The goal is to use integrated diagnostics to resolve the local dynamic physicochemical properties of the electrolyte and nanostructures in-situ as they grow. Using this new platform, we will provide a microscopic description of charge transfer at the solid-liquid interface (such as electrode inhomogeneities, local electrochemical potential and electrolyte structure) in combination with real-time information on crystal formation (e.g. size, composition or defects). The final goal is to use this knowledge to pursuing the direct writing of optically functional materials, where out-of-plane architectures enable unprecedented light-matter interactions (i.e. semiconductor nanowires). Essentially, this project will pioneer controlled nanoelectrochemistry as the ultimate 3D manufacturing technology, able to fabricate combinations of logic circuits, LEDs, photodetectors and many other (opto)electronic devices on the same platform with nanoscale resolution.

About the group

As a PhD student, you will be part of the 3D Photovoltaics group The ultimate goal of the group is to impact on solar energy harvesting and to push the frontier of nano-PV. Our approach towards low-cost highly efficient PV, is using semiconductor nanostructures as building blocks and (nano)electrochemistry as a tool. On one hand, we focus on the fundamental understanding of the potential benefits and/or limitations of semiconductor nano-structures for solar energy conversion. On the other hand, we explore the combination of electrochemical methods and scanning probes for developing new methods and understanding of nanocrystal fabrication.

The group is embedded in the Nanophotovoltaics research theme and Center for Nanophotonics at Amolf, which offer a highly stimulating and collaborative atmosphere.


We are looking for an enthusiastic student to carry this project in our group.
You will need to meet the requirements for an MSc-degree, to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination. The MSc should be ideally in experimental materials science, chemistry or similar. Good verbal and written communication skills in English are required.

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. Esther Alarcon Llado
Group leader (3D Photovoltaics)
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below before July 1st.
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.

Commercial activities in response to this ad are not appreciated.