PhD candidate Advanced Multi-mineral Materials by Co-crystallisation
University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Science – Institute of Physics

PhD candidate Advanced Multi-mineral Materials by Co-crystallisation
Faculty of Science – Institute of Physics

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PhD candidate Advanced Multi-mineral Materials by Co-crystallisation

Publication date 25 February 2019

Closing date 1 April 2019

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month

Vacancy number 19-121

The Institute of Physics (IoP) of the Faculty of Science has a PhD position in the Soft Matter group in collaboration with Unilever and Nouryon (previously AkzoNobel).


The IoP comprises three research divisions: experiment, theory and high-energy physics. The Van der Waals Zeeman Institute for experimental physics (WZI) has a long tradition of excellence in three programs covering soft condensed matter, quantum gases and hard condensed matter. The world-renown Soft Matter group comprises over 30 researchers and is active in areas located at the overlap between physics, chemistry and materials science. The research is powered both by a fundamental, knowledge-based drive, as well as an ambition to maximize the transfer and exploitation of our results in industry and society in general. Research areas of the Soft Matter group include hydrodynamics and rheology, complex fluids (surfactants, colloids, polymers), nucleation and phase transitions (crystallization) and metamaterials.


Project description

The objective of this project is to design novel crystalline materials by incorporating iron in the mineral salts. It is known that metal ions can be present as impurities in the crystal lattice of other salts. The natural Himalayan salt is a perfect example; a coloured pink salt due to the presence of metal ions, including essential micronutrient such as iron. Although it contains several essential minerals, it contains also traces of undesired heavy metals.


You will take initiative to settle novel strategies for making multi-mineral iron-containing water soluble salts (e.g. Fe-NaCl/KCl) with variable Fe-to-other mineral ratio. You will use novel drying/crystallisation techniques and the viscoelastic characteristics of the solutions in order to control the degree of crystallinity and shape of the resulting particles. Shape and size of the crystal are very important for the flow properties of granular matter. Confinement will be used to control the crystal sizes and shapes and are known to be able to affect crystallinity. You will also explore different strategies such as co-drying, co-crystallization and co-precipitation techniques in microfluidic systems and will establish the structure (i.e. crystalline, amorphous) and chemical identity of the salt. Special attention will be given to the characterization of the novel materials using different techniques (such as X-ray diffraction).


The outcome of this research will be used to create value added advanced materials for food and pharmaceutical applications. In addition, such materials will be explored for applications in other industrial fields such as colorants, solid electrolytes, metallic glasses and optical materials.



You hold a MSc degree in a relevant field such as Physics, Materials sciences, Chemistry and physical chemistry of materials and are highly-motivated and ready to take on this important challenge. You should have the ambition to be the driving force for this exciting and innovative project. The funding for this project is a prestigious grant by the NWO Technology Area funding instrument explicitly for the collaboration between the Soft Matter group/University of Amsterdam and our industrial partners Unilever and Nouryon (previously AkzoNobel) that co-finance this project.


Other skills/experiences/documents that would benefit your application are:

  • previous laboratory experience; affinity with experimental physical chemistry;
  • the ability to take initiative and conduct a research project in collaboration with industry;
  • the ability to work both independently and as a team member;
  • good oral and written communication skills in English;
  • working knowledge of a programming language (Phyton, C++ or equivalent).


Further information

For informal enquiries about the position please direct your questions to:

  • Dr. Wehine Shahidzadeh , Associate professor
  • Prof. Daniel Bonn
    Tel: +31 (20) 525 8261


You may also want to check the website of the Soft Matter Group.



The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years (initial appointment will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We expect you to assist in teaching of undergraduates.


Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,325 in the first year to €2,972 in the last year. The Collective Labour Agreement (Cao) of Dutch Universities is applicable. Favourable tax agreement may apply to non-Dutch applicants.


Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.


Applications should be submitted through the link below. All applications should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a motivation letter that explains why you have chosen to apply for this specific position with a statement of your research experience and interests and how these relate to this project;
  • the title and summary of your Master thesis.


Please upload all the files as 1 PDF in the field marked CV.

Applications will be processed on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been identified. (Formal closing date: 1 April 2019).

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Physicaloxy


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