Postdoc: Nanophotonics and quantum physics with electrons and light

Work Activities

Did you know high-energy electrons can serve as efficient sources of optical excitation of matter? Our group has developed cathodoluminescence microscopy, in which we use 1-30 keV electrons in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to excite nanomaterials. The oscillating electric field carried by the electron serves as a broadband (0-30 eV) excitation source with 5 nm spatial and 5 fs temporal resolution. This enables us to study excitations and localized modes of plasmons, 2D semiconductors and a wide range of optical metamaterials. We study excitation dynamics through time-resolved spectroscopy, correlative measurements, holography and perform 3D tomography of complex geometries. 

In a parallel project, we use high-power laser pulses to induce very strong optical near fields that change the energy spectrum of the electrons in the SEM. 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. The CL microscope is then operated as a quantum instrument with well-prepared initial electron states that may be entangled with materials excitations. This enables studies of optical excitations at attosecond time resolution. The new technique (called PINEM) opens up an entirely new world of electron microscopy applications in integrated optics, nanophotonics, and opto-electronics and will provide detailed insights into fundamental electron-light-matter interactions that have been inaccessible thus far.

We have vacancies for PhD students and postdoc in all of these topics.


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

Work environment

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 (50 PhD students and postdocs) that share a state-of-the-art cleanroom for nanofabrication and characterization and many other facilities.

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 years
  • Salary is in scale 10 (CAO-OI) which starts at 4.065 Euro’s gross per month, and a range of employment benefits.
  • AMOLF assists any new foreign Postdoc with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

More information?

For further information about the position, please contact Prof. dr. Albert Polman:

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.

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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