University of Antwerp

Doctoral scholarship holder experimental nanophysics and nonlinear optics

2024-07-31 (Europe/Brussels)
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The University of Antwerp is a dynamic, forward-thinking, European university. We offer an innovative academic education to more than 20000 students, conduct pioneering scientific research and play an important service-providing role in society. We are one of the largest, most international and most innovative employers in the region. With more than 6000 employees from 100 different countries, we are helping to build tomorrow's world every day. Through top scientific research, we push back boundaries and set a course for the future – a future that you can help to shape. 

The Department of Physics, research group NANOrOPT in the Faculty of Sciences is looking for a full-time (100%) doctoral scholarship holder in the field of Experimental Nanophysics and Nonlinear Optics.

This position is financed in the framework of a research project funded by the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders (FWO), at the University of Antwerp, in collaboration with the UGent and KU Leuven.


  • You will work actively on the preparation of a PhD thesis in the field of nonlinear optical nanomaterials. This PhD project is part of an FWO project on the multi-scale alignment of carbon-nanotube-encapsulated molecular arrays for nonlinear optics.
  • Research Topic: Organic dipolar molecules have attracted much interest over the past decades because of their very large nonlinear optical (NLO) response, holding promise for applications in photonics. Yet, a long standing issue is that to achieve a macroscopic NLO response, the asymmetry intrinsic to dipolar molecules needs to be extended from the molecular scale, over the supramolecular mesoscale, all the way to the macroscopic scale. This PhD project builds on an idea first demonstrated at UAntwerp, that dipolar NLO molecules spontaneously adopt an ideal head-to-tail alignment when confined as one-dimensional arrays inside carbon nanotubes, resulting in a dramatic enhancement of the NLO response by orders of magnitude through a coherent addition of molecular responses (results published in Nature Nanotechnology in 2015). In your PhD project this concept will be elaborated to form highly dipolar NLO nanohybrids (supramolecular scale), and these will be used by the partner at UGent to form aligned polymer fibers and films to extend the alignment throughout the mesoscale and macroscopic scale. The whole process will be modelled by the partner group at the KU Leuven in a multiscale approach, from atomistic simulations of the molecular alignment to large scale coarse grained calculations of the alignment of the nanohybrids. You will study the NLO molecules, nanohybrids and their aligned polymer composites by advanced spectroscopic techniques such as wavelength-dependent Raman scattering, and characterize their NLO properties by hyper-Rayleigh scattering and coherent second harmonic generation, all with world-wide unique setups using widely wavelength-tuneable laser systems. You will collaborate in a dynamic, multidisciplinary team at the interface between physics, chemistry, and materials engineering.
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project, and report also to the other partners in this project.
  • You will carry out a limited number of teaching and research support tasks for the physics department.


  • You hold a Master degree in Physics, Chemistry or Materials Science or you will obtain it in 2024.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results.
  • Your teaching competences are in line with the University of Antwerp’s educational vision.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies.
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation.
  • Experience in experimental research, in particular spectroscopy and/or optics, is highly appreciated. Knowledge of scientific software such as Matlab (or similar) is essential for the detailed data analysis of your experimental results.

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of 1 year. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be extended to a total of 4 years.
  • The planned start date is as soon as possible, and at the latest January 1st, 2025.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will receive ecocheques, Internet-connectivity allowance, and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting.
  • You will do most of your work at Campus Drie Eiken of the University of Antwerp in a dynamic and stimulating working environment. You will also collaborate closely with partners at Ghent University and at KU Leuven.
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here.

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including July 31st 2024 (by midnight Brussels time; depending on the number of applications received, this deadline may be extended). Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments: a motivation letter, your academic CV including the scores for the Master courses you followed, a summary of your master thesis and the contact details of two references.
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Wim Wenseleers (

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

Job details

Doctoral scholarship holder experimental nanophysics and nonlinear optics
Prinsstraat 13 Antwerp, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-07-31 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-07-31 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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