Postdoc: Cathodoluminescence microscopy: nanophotonics and quantum physics with electrons and light

Date posted June 16, 2022
Type Postdoc positions

The Photonic Materials group at NWO-Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, the Netherlands is looking for PhD students and postdocs for a new project on quantum cathodoluminescence microscopy. In this new program, funded by the ERC, we will gain coherent control over electron-light-matter interaction in a wide variety of material systems. We will build a unique cathodoluminescence scanning electron microscope (SEM-CL) that carries out Photon-Induced Near-field Electron Microscopy (PINEM) in which 1-30 keV energy electrons interact with strong light fields. This interaction dresses the electrons into a quantum superposition state which creates a way to tailor the spatial and temporal distribution of electron wavepackets at will.

We will use PINEM spectroscopy to probe optical near fields with nanoscale spatial resolution at low electron energy. Employing our extensive toolbox of nanophotonics we will create 2D metasurfaces and 3D metamaterials to strongly amplify the PINEM effect. The program exploits two time-resolved SEM-CL microscopes that were developed in our group that can deliver ultrashort (single-)electron pulses. We will investigate how electron wavefunctions in an SEM can be tailored by interaction with suitably tailored optical near fields in nanophotonic geometries so that we gain coherent control over electron-light-matter interaction.

The CL microscope is then operated as a quantum instrument with well-prepared initial electron states that can be entangled with materials excitations. This enables studies on correlations in time and space, and real-time studies of excited states by their spectroscopic signatures. The new PINEM-SEM-CL technique opens up a new world of electron microscopy applications in integrated optics, nanophotonics, and opto-electronics and will provide detailed insights into fundamental electron-light-matter interactions.

About the group

The Photonic Materials group (, led by Prof. Albert Polman, studies light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. The group is composed of an international team of 8-10 PhD students, postdocs and masters students that work in a collaborative atmosphere with many social group activities. Every week we hold group meeting, CL team meeting, and departmental colloquium and poster sessions, in addition to regular journal clubs. We also regularly organize an international group labtour.

Our group is part of AMOLFs Nanophotonics and Light Management in new Photovoltaic Materials research centers that are composed of 8 research groups (45 PhD students and postdocs) that share an extensive cleanroom for nanofabrication and characterization and many other facilities.


You need to meet the requirements for a doctors-degree in physics or related field, and have very strong social, organizational and communication skills.

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 3 years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) and a range of employment benefits. AMOLF assists any new foreign employee with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof. dr. Albert Polman
Research program leader
Phone: +31 (0)20 754 7100

To apply: submit an application letter with a motivation why you like to join our group, and your resume with the names of three references.

Selection of candidates will continue till the positions are filled.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment. Hence, we greatly encourage candidates from any personal background and perspective to apply.

Commercial activities in response to this ad are not appreciated.