Vacancy: Postdoctoral researcher, U. Leiden (closing: 23 August 2020)

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a​ postdoctoral researcher in physical chemistry: 
Direct Separation of Two-Dimensional Materials from the Surface of Liquid Metal Catalysts

Vacancy number: 20-285
Hours (in fte): 1.0
Location: Leiden
Closing date: 23 August 2020

Project description
Two-dimensional materials (2DMs) such as graphene, germanene, h-BN, transition metal dichalcogenides and others are currently amongst the most intensively studied classes of materials that hold great promise for future applications in many technological areas. However, the main hurdle against practical utilization of 2DMs is the lack of effective mass production and transfer techniques of high-quality 2DMs to satisfy the growing demands for scientific and technological applications. During our ongoing FET-Open project of LMCat, we have studied a radically new synthesis method for growing 2DMs which employed a liquid metal catalyst (LMCat) instead of a solid one. Our recent experimental and theoretical evidence suggests that using LMCats bears the prospect of 2DMs with unprecedented quality and production speed. The major success of this project has motivated us to follow up on this via this industrially oriented project with the aim of demonstrating the possibility of continuous graphene production via performing its simultaneous growth and its direct separation from the LMCat. To tackle the unprecedented challenge of direct separation, a multidisciplinary scientific and industrial consortium (Leiden University, Leiden Probe Microscopy, ESRF, CEA, University of Patras, and Fritz Haber Institute) was put together. In this part of the project, extensive COMSOL multi-physics simulations will be performed to predict the heat and gas flow in the reactor during its operation. These simulations (including fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and mass transport) will be crucial in optimizing the reactor design. The simulations will be carried out in close collaboration with Leiden Probe Microscopy, who will be responsible for designing and building the reactor for 2DM growth and separation from the catalyst.

Selection criteria
We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, who has:

  • A PhD degree in Physics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, or related disciplines;
  • A strong interest in surface science and two-dimensional materials;
  • Experience in COMSOL multi-physics simulations;
  • Excellent proficiency in English;
  • Good technical skills.

The candidate should feel comfortable working in a collaborative environment with complex experiments. Initiative, creativity and an independent working attitude are highly valued. Planned start date January 2021, or soon thereafter.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions
We offer a position for one year. Salary ranges from € 2.394,- to € 3.061,- gross per month based on a full time employment, (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside The Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Irene Groot, email If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact secretary José Dijkzeul, email

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Please ensure that you quote the vacancy number and include the following documents in your application:

  • A letter of motivation;
  • An updated CV, including a list of publications;
  • A copy of your PhD thesis;
  • A copy of your PhD degree;
  • At least three references, including names, affiliations and email addresses.

Only applications received no later than 23 August 2020 can be considered.