Postdoc: Molecular optomechanics with high-Q hybrid photonic-plasmonic resonators

Date posted December 18, 2018
Type Postdoc positions

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a powerful technique that uses plasmonic resonances to enhance local electromagnetic fields, thereby giving access to single molecule  vibrational spectroscopy. Very recently,  a new viewpoint in SERS was proposed,  coined “molecular optomechanics”, which recognizes analogy to cavity optomechanics.  In this paradigm,  sufficient optomechanical coupling strength and control over the spectral structure of an optical resonator and mechanical resonator gives access to unprecedented sensitivity in the optical read out of mechanical motion, and even allows light  to amplify or cool vibrations through dynamical backaction. A key ability underlying this paradigm is to  precisely control the optomechanical coupling, by building resonators with at the same time deep subwavelength electromagnetic confinement, and precise spectral control over the mode structure in order to independently match pump, Stokes and anti-Stokes lines of Raman processes.  In this project we will build on our recent efforts in hybrid plasmonic photonic resonators,  which enables confining field at plasmonic hot spots, yet with spectral control derived from microcavity Q’s.  We will explore the use of these structures for SERS,  as well as for all-optical sensing of mid-IR radiation, essentially using molecular vibrations for transducing IR to  optical signals.  This postdoc project is in collaboration with the Photonic Forces group at AMOLF (Prof. Ewold Verhagen),  and a network of excellent European partners with expertise in plasmonics,  spectroscopy and the theory and design of resonators and molecules for molecular optomechanics.

About the group

The Resonant Nanophotonics group led by Prof. dr. Femius Koenderink is part of the Center for Nanophotonics, a collaborative training center for Nanophotonics and Nanophotovoltaics at AMOLF. The group investigates the fundamental physics of light-matter interactions at the nanoscale as well as the applications they allow.  The infrastructure of the group includes single-molecule microscopy,  scatterometry of single nano-objects,  and femtosecond two-color interrogation of plasmonic and metamaterial objects. The project will further benefit from the Amsterdam Nanolab cleanroom, in which we have already built up all the know-how to fabricate high-Q, yet plasmonic confinement, resonators.  The Resonant Nanophotonics group is a compact, collaborative and diverse  team of about 8 PhD students and postdocs.   For the project we will collaborate closely with the Photonic Forces group (Prof. Ewold Verhagen,,  and a network of EU project partners in the UK (Cambridge, Imperial), Switzerland (EPFL), and Spain (San Sebastian, Valencia).


We seek an excellent candidate with a background in physics,  preferably in nanophotonics and/or spectroscopy, who has a doctoral degree, or has met all the requirements and will receive the doctoral degree shortly.  Candidates who have  experience with experimental techniques,  yet also have affinity to nanophotonics modelling are especially encouraged to apply. The successful candidate has a collaborative spirit, and will liaise with the European project partners.  1.5

Terms of employment

You will be offered an employment of up to 2.5 years in the service of NWO-I with excellent employment benefits. The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year).

AMOLF is a small-scale institute with different disciplines and is known for its unique collaborative culture. Your development will be stimulated in the form of training on the job together with relevant courses. We offer generous relocation expenses and support with finding housing and visa application. NWO-I also offers you facilities to combine work and private life, like partly paid parental leave. Curious about our other benefits? See the employment regulations of NWO-I.

Contact info

Prof.dr. Femius Koenderink
Group leader Resonant Nanophotonics
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

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