Radboud University

PhD Candidate: Developing laser-based spectroscopy systems for gas phase contamination detection in real-life applications

2024-08-01 (Europe/Amsterdam)
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About the employer

Radboud University is a denominational university originally established in 1923 as the Catholic University of Nijmegen.

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Employment 1.0 FTE

Gross monthly salary € 2,770 - € 3,539

Required background Research University Degree

Organizational unit Faculty of Science

Application deadline 01 August 2024

Are you an enthusiastic young scientist who likes to work with and develop novel laser-based spectroscopy instruments? Do you hold a Master’s degree in physics (photonics), electrical engineering or a related field? And would you like to be involved in research and development for detecting gas-phase contaminations in different novel/demanding applications,  for example as used in green hydrogen and semiconductor industry? If so, then you have a part to play as a PhD candidate in our research team. Put your ideas to the test at our green campus and push your boundaries in an internationally friendly environment.

Detecting gas-phase contaminations is a fundamental and ever-growing field. Safety and efficiency of many real-life applications depend on on-line monitoring of gas-phase contaminants. This PhD project aims at two of these important applications: I) contaminants in storage and the transfer of green hydrogen and II) contaminants in semiconductor manufacturing processes.

As a PhD candidate, you will identify and characterise the major gas-phase contaminants in these two applications, their origins and concentrations. You will do so with the help of leading national and international institutes and companies in the corresponding field. This involves developing new set-ups to mimic the application conditions in the lab and performing measurements in the field at the commercial partners. The goal is to portray a full picture of the major contaminants and finally design efficient and cost-effective new instruments using broadband laser-based spectroscopy for the identified targets.

Research in the Trace Detection Laboratory (TDLab) focuses on the detection of species in trace levels with a higher emphasis on the gas phase. For this, we use various analytical laboratory instruments based on mass spectrometry and Fourier transform spectroscopy (FTS) and are developing new laser-based spectroscopic instruments for specific applications. These applications are very broad: agri-food industry, pollution monitoring, bio-medical and disease detection, emission/exposure measurement, and more. In this project, you will be using existing laboratory instruments, as well as developing new spectroscopic methods for detecting a specific contaminant (or specific sets of contaminants). Your teaching load may be up to 10% of your working time.


  • You should have a Master's degree in physics (photonics), electrical engineering, or a related discipline (a good knowledge of optics and photonics is required), and an interest in developing laser-based spectroscopic instruments and analysing data.
  • You are a highly motivated, enthusiastic, critical, communicative, creative and team-oriented young scientist with a particular interest in working with and developing laser-based spectroscopy systems for trace gas detection.
  • You take initiative and are eager to learn.
  • Prior experience with developing laser-based spectroscopy instruments or other optics/photonics systems, as well as programming (in LabView, Matlab and/or Python) is essential.
  • You are fluent in English (written and spoken) and have good communication skills. 

We are

Our research team is a diverse team of international scientists interested in trace detection for different applications. We use a combination of spectroscopy and spectrometry instruments for this purpose. We also develop methodologies for novel applications of spectrometry as well as novel laser-based spectroscopy techniques and instruments. We have a large list of national and international collaborating groups, universities, institutes and companies in several national and European projects. This provides us with a very active and open environment, and help us identify new problems in trace detection for us to solve. 

The TDLab is embedded in the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM), at the Faculty of Science of Radboud University (Nijmegen, Netherlands). IMM is a dynamic interdisciplinary research institute that brings together the fields of chemistry and physics, to unravel the mysteries of atomic, molecular, and solid state environments. With a focus on fundamental research, IMM strive to make a positive impact on society by exploring practical applications and educating the future leaders in science and innovation.

Radboud University

At Radboud University, we aim to make an impact through our work. We achieve this by conducting groundbreaking research, providing high-quality education, offering excellent support, and fostering collaborations within and outside the university. In doing so, we contribute indispensably to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. To accomplish this, we need even more colleagues who, based on their expertise, are willing to search for answers. We advocate for an inclusive community and welcome employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Will you also contribute to making the world a little better? You have a part to play.

If you want to learn more about working at Radboud University, follow our Instagram account and read stories from our colleagues.

Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science (FNWI), part of Radboud University, engages in groundbreaking research and excellent education. In doing so, we push the boundaries of scientific knowledge and pass that knowledge on to the next generation.

We seek solutions to major societal challenges, such as cybercrime and climate change and work on major scientific challenges, such as those in the quantum world. At the same time, we prepare our students for careers both within and outside the scientific field.

Currently, more than 1,300 colleagues contribute to research and education, some as researchers and lecturers, others as technical and administrative support officers. The faculty has a strong international character with staff from more than 70 countries. Together, we work in an informal, accessible and welcoming environment, with attention and space for personal and professional development for all.

We offer

  • We will give you a temporary employment contract (1.0 FTE) of 1,5 years, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, your contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4-year contract).     
  • You will receive a starting salary of €2,770 gross per month based on a 38-hour working week, which will increase to €3,539 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive an 8% holiday allowance and an 8,3% end-of-year bonus. 
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Support Service. The Dual Career Programme assists your partner via support, tools, and resources to improve their chances of independently finding employment in the Netherlands. Our Family Support Service helps you and your partner feel welcome and at home by providing customised assistance in navigating local facilities, schools, and amenities. Also take a look at our support for international staff page to discover all our services for international employees.
  • You will receive extra days off. With full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the statutory 20. 

Additional employment conditions

Work and science require good employment practices. Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions reflect this. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself. For example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports membership. And, of course, we offer a good pension plan. We also give you plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Practical information and applying

You can apply no later than 1 August 2024 only via the button below. Address your letter of application to Dr. Simona Cristescu. In the application form, you will find which documents you need to include with your application.

Applications will be assessed on a weekly basis. The vacancy will close once a suitable candidate has been found.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It describes what you can expect during the application procedure and how we handle your personal data and internal and external candidates. 

Job details

PhD Candidate: Developing laser-based spectroscopy systems for gas phase contamination detection in real-life applications
Houtlaan 4 Nijmegen, Netherlands
Application deadline
2024-08-01 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam)
2024-08-01 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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About the employer

Radboud University is a denominational university originally established in 1923 as the Catholic University of Nijmegen.

Visit the employer page