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PhD position: The Extreme Mechanics of Metamaterials

Faculty of Science – Institute of Physics

PhD position: The Extreme Mechanics of Metamaterials
Publication date 4 September 2019
Closing date 15 November 2019
Level of education Master's degree
Hours 38 hours per week
Salary indication €2,325 to €2,972 gross per month
Vacancy number 19-568

Are you interested in material design? The University of Amsterdam is seeking an excellent, highly motivated PhD candidate to carry out interdisciplinary research at the frontier of metamaterials and mechanics.

Mechanical metamaterials have emerged as the most promising platform for the rational design of ‘extreme’ functionalities. However, this exciting progress has mostly been realised in ideal conditions using a purely geometric framework, which dramatically limits the potential of metamaterials. In his project you will focus on a diametrically different, but crucial aspect of metamaterials: their extreme mechanics under realistic conditions. You will develop a completely new framework to allow for deviations from idealised scenarios. This breakthrough will lead to powerful tools to predict the sensitivity to inhomogeneous boundary conditions, geometric imperfections and dynamic effects. Just as the fundamental understanding of defects and dislocations revolutionised materials science, by exploring perturbations in metamaterials you will push the frontiers of solids mechanics and open up avenues for the design of robust advanced functionalities tailored to realistic complex scenarios, from prosthetics to aerospace.

What are you going to do?

In this PhD project, you will push the limit of mechanical metamaterials by:

  • boosting our understanding of metamaterials, by investigating metamaterials in the presence of inhomogeneities such as defects and disorder or inhomogeneous loading conditions;
  • working at the boundary between physics and engineering, by combining precision desktop experiments, numerical simulations and theory;
  • making a key step towards applications, by devising novel guidelines for the use of metamaterials in complex conditions.

What do we require?

  • A Master’s degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, computational science or a related field;
  • a strong background in physics, for numerical simulations, theory and/or experiments and a strong taste for combining different approaches;
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration 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 also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be € 2.325 to € 2.972 (scale P) gross per month, based on fulltime (38 hours a week), exclusive 8 % holiday allowance and 8.3 end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The PhD project will be carried out at the Machine Materials Laboratory, headed by Dr Corentin Coulais, and part of the Soft Matter Group within the Institute of Physics of the Faculty of Science. The laboratory focus on Mechanical Metamaterials and benefit from exceptional scientific environments, in soft and condensed matter, computational physics and advanced materials.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV and cover letter by 15 November 2019. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, the motivation letter should state why you are specifically interested in the field of metamaterials;
  • a pdf version of your MSc thesis (or if not finalized yet, an abstract);
  • if applicable, pdf versions of your scientific publications;
  • the name and email address of at least two referees, who will be asked to upload their recommendation letters.

No agencies please

Apply now