PhD Position in Nanoscale Chemical Characterisation of Functional Surfaces

Wageningen University


PhD in Nanoscale Chemical Characterisation of Functional Surfaces

Published on
April 14, 2021

Location Wageningen

End date Fri 14 May 2021

We are looking for

Are you a highly driven and an extremely curious person loving interdisciplinary Science? Do you have an MSc degree in Organic or Physical Chemistry? That makes a match!

We are looking for a PhD student (AIO) with great interest in discovering and characterising a new class of functional materials with enhanced properties, such as super-hydrophobicity, anti-corrosion, and high resistance to oxidation and biofouling.
The proposed PhD research project will apply atomic force microscopy (AFM) and establish infrared nanospectroscopy (AFM-IR) as powerful tools to characterise with nanoscale morphological and chemical resolution in situ and in real time functional surfaces and materials. The first objective is to expand the in-situ capabilities of AFM-IR to study at the molecular level the degree of function and degradation of antifouling materials in environments resembling the conditions under which the anti-fouling surface will be used. The second objective will be to apply AFM-IR and its high chemical spatial resolution to unravel the local molecular processes of damage and self-healing of antifouling materials. The overall aim of the project is to shed light at the molecular level on the chemical processes determining the function and malfunction of anti-fouling materials to improve their performances, lifetime and sustainable use.
The PhD will work in the laboratory of Nanoscale Microscopy and Spectroscopy (NMS) lead by Dr. Ruggeri, which is part of the chair groups of Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. The PhD will have access to a unique, cutting-edge and world-leading laboratory of scanning probe microscopy, including several high-resolution AFMs and AFM-IR systems.  The PhD will work in team with another, more physically oriented, PhD that will support the development of the capabilities of AFM-IR. This cutting-edge facility in combination with the interdisciplinary nature of the 2 PhD projects will assure the successful development of the project.

We ask

You are highly driven and extremely curious. “Why?” is a question you often ask, both inside and outside of Science.

  • You have an MSc degree (or equivalent) in (Organic or Physical) Chemistry;
  • you have a strong background and solid hands-on experience in organic synthesis and spectroscopy with a strong interest (or preferentially experience) in polymer chemistry, in order to be able to prepare the brushes that we aim to study;
  • you must have a deep understanding of physical and chemical principles to be able to design new materials, and study their properties;
  • you have strong background in mathematics, statistical and exploratory data analysis (regression and principal components analysis);
  • you have a strong interest (or preferentially experience) in experimental science and scanning probe microscopy;
  • you have a deep interest in applying physical methods to complex systems and enjoy working in a highly multidisciplinary, dynamic and collaborative environment and open to communicate to a language that is comprehensible to broad public and scientific audience;
  • you aim to excel, and your biggest talents are creativity, persistence and being inquisitive. Your affinity for the collaborative nature of the project, and good written and oral communication skills in English (minimally IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 90) are crucial for the successful development of this study. 
Only applications that clearly show these facets will be considered.

We offer

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2395,-. in the first year rising up to € 3061,-. per month in the fourth year. 

In addition we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% fixed-year allowance;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary working conditions;
  • an excellent pension scheme via ABP;
  • 232 holiday hours, the ability to purchase and good supplementary leave arrangements and an individualized model to compose part of your working conditions and a bicycle plan;
  • sports facilities available on campus which can be used against a small fee;
  • good (study) leave arrangements.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function you can contact Dr. F.S. Ruggeri, by e-mail:
For more information about the procedure you can contact Mrs. N. de Vries, HR advisor, e-mail: or by phone: +31317485677.

Do you want to apply?

This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission. This vacancy is open until the 15th of May 2021. 

Equal opportunities employer

We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.
We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The laboratory of Nanoscale Microscopy and Spectroscopy (NMS) is a young and dynamic team embedded within the chair groups of Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry at Wageningen University. The Laboratory facilities are equipped with a unique and cutting edge set of several high resolution AFMs and customized Infrared Nanospectroscopy (AFM-IR) systems operating in air, liquid and vacuum environments.

The Organic Chemistry group ( constitutes a large, interdisciplinary research team involved in teaching and research on organic chemistry, with an emphasis on surface-based reactivity. Our group excels in the field, and aims to continue to do so. The team consists of around 25 PhD students and postdocs, a permanent staff of 7 technical employees, two part-time professors with external expertise, 7 assistant and associate professors and one full-time chair (many of whom have received highly competitive national and ERC personal grants). The laboratory is extremely well-equipped with high-end preparative laboratories and a unique set of analysis instruments for bio-organic materials and surfaces. In addition to this, the embedding within Wageningen University & Research adds ample biological input into our focus on modified surfaces and functional materials.

The Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter group ( is a highly interdisciplinary chair group involved in teaching and research on a broad range of topics in soft matter science, with an emphasis on polymeric assemblies and materials. We operate at the forefront of the field and have many collaborations, both national and international. The team consists of around 25 PhD students and postdocs and a permanent staff of 2 technicians, 3 full-time professors, and 4 assistant and associate professors. The laboratory is very well-equipped with state-of-the-art instruments for optical, mechanical, and thermal characterization.

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. 

With approximately 30 locations, 6,500 employees, and 12,000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

Click here for more information about working at Wageningen University & Research.

More information about Wageningen Campus you can find here.

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