Job Properties
  • Job Type
    Full-time Position
  • Category
    Research & Science
  • Languages
    English Dutch
  • Experience Required
  • Degree Required
    • Province
    • Date Posted
      December 10,2021
    • Entrusting Package
    • JSS
    • VISA
    • IMG_6430
    • Career Consultation

    PhD position Design, Synthesis, Assembly and Functioning of Switches and Motors

    “Light triggered molecular switches & motors: Unravelling the molecular mechanism behind motion at the nanoscale”

    This PhD position concerns a joined project between the groups of prof. Wouter Roos and prof. Ben Feringa. 2 PhD students will collaborate, one position in the Roos lab, focussing on high speed Atomic Force Microscopy and real time studies of dynamics, and one position in the Feringa lab with emphasis on design, synthesis, assembly and functioning of switches and motors.

    Synthetic molecular machines such as switches and motors have recently gained increasing interest as they enable dynamic functions, motility and mechanical functions in materials. In this project the focus is on the design, synthesis, assembly and functioning of photochemical switches and rotary motors with the ultimate goal to elucidate in real time the dynamics and mechanisms behind motion at the nanoscale. New switches and motors will be prepared and their dynamic properties tuned on demand via structural modifications. The elucidation of the photochemical isomerization processes, the design of visible light powered systems and the incorporation in larger functional supramolecular assemblies (both in solution and on surfaces) are examined. In particular, two distinct types of assemblies, nanopores and nanofibres/nanotubes will be studied. For instance, by designing and optimising nano-pores with azobenzene, spiropyran or other photoactive moieties, both pore formation and pore opening/closing can be triggered in a non-invasive manner using visible light while the adaptive and actuating nanofibers/tubes are typically based on photoresponsive amphiphilic molecular motors. By further developing the High Speed AFM approach the molecular mode of action of the switches and motors will be scrutinized. The two PhD students will work in close cooperation; in this project design, synthesis, photophysical measurements, single molecule analysis and supramolecular methodology will comprise the major part of the research.


    For the position in the Feringa group, we are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:
    • a MSc degree in chemistry or a related field
    • a clear interest in collaborative interdisciplinary research
    • excellent grades
    • creativity, determination and motivation

    Experience in photochemistry, synthetic organic chemistry and/or supramolecular chemistry is a plus.

    Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see University of Groningen’s English Language Requirements for details.


    The University of Groningen is a research university, currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University, offering first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines.

    The mission of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry is to perform excellent research and teaching in molecular and supramolecular chemistry. Core activities in the chemical sciences such as bioorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular inorganic chemistry and molecular materials chemistry are embedded in the institute. The research programme is focused on synthesis, catalysis, functional materials, bio-organic chemistry/chemical biology and systems chemistry/complex molecular systems.

    The research program of the Feringa group is focused on synthetic and physical organic chemistry. Inspired by Nature's principles of molecular assembly, recognition, transport, motion and catalysis, the goal is to exploit the full potential of synthetic chemistry to create new structures and functions. A major part of the research is directed towards dynamic molecular systems. The focus is on molecular nanoscience, novel responsive materials and photo-pharma exploring biohybrid systems, self-assembly, molecular switches and motors. A second part of the program deals with the development (and application in chemical biology) of novel stereoselective synthesis methods and asymmetric catalysis. Chirality is a leading theme and over the years a unique and broad expertise in fundamental aspects of stereochemistry has been acquired including chiroptical phenomena, chiral amplification and origin of chirality.

    Conditions of employment

    We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:
    • a salary of € 2,434 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,111 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
    • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
    • an 8.3% year-end bonus
    • a position for four years; you will get a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected.
    • a university PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidates will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

    The starting date is flexible


    Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, you’re requested to upload the following documents:
    • a motivation letter stating your motivation to apply for the position and your key qualities relevant for this position
    • an up-to-date curriculum vitae
    • diplomas (BSc and Msc) and transcript of records
    • contact information of two academic references

    You can submit your application until 16 January 11:59pm / before 17 January 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

    We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our University. We are committed to building a diverse faculty so you are encouraged to apply. Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP), and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers,

    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


    For information you can contact:

    • Dr. Anouk Lubbe, a.s.lubbe
    • Prof. Ben Feringa, b.l.feringa
    • Prof. Wouter Roos, w.h.roos

    Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

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