Postdoc in experimental soft matter science

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Apr 2021

About the position

We have a vacancy for a postdoc working in the area of experimental soft matter science in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab located at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology – NTNU in Trondheim Norway.

The position is funded by the Research Council of Norway in a project entitled “Clay nanolayers for encapsulation of drops or nanoparticles”. The activities in the project are mainly experimental, supported by theory and simulations, and involve fundamental studies of encapsulation by 2-dimensional clay nanolayers.

Basic concepts and open scientific questions in this area of research are summarized in a recent publication, see “Clay nanolayer encapsulation, evolving from origins of life to future technologies”, Jon Otto Fossum, European Physical Journal Special Topics 229, 2863–2879 (2020) (https://doi.org/10.1140/epjst/e2020-000131-1 ).

The workplace of the postdoc will be in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab (http://www.softcomlab.com ) in certain cases supported by the NTNU Nanolab (https://www.ntnu.edu/nano ).

Experimental methods that will be utilized in the project are mainly microscopy (optical, atomic force - AFM, electron (SEM, TEM)), Zeta potential characterization, Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), microfluidic methods as well as nanotechnological methods such as focused ion beam (FIB). Custom made experiments, such as special purpose sample cells, acoustic levitation etc. will be designed and built with the help of the laboratory’s technical staff, the NTNU mechanical workshop or by own 3D printing.

Some sample preparation that involves physical chemistry for clay nano-layer delamination and nanolayer functionalization will be performed in close collaboration with the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

Some experiments using advanced fluorescent confocal microscopy will be performed at the University of Oslo, and some experiments involving advanced microfluidic manipulation and observation of nanolayers may be performed in collaboration with  École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) in Paris France.

The project will include X-ray scattering characterization (wide- or small-angle, i.e. WAXS or SAXS) either in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab at NTNU or at international synchrotron X-ray facilities. Neutron scattering experiments (SANS and spectroscopy) will be performed at international neutron facilities, such as ISIS UK.

Starting date for employment in the position is expected to be September 15th 2021.

You will report to Head of Department of Physics Professor Erik Wahlstrøm.

Professor Jon Otto Fossum will be the main scientific supervisor of the postdoc.


Duties of the position
  • Perform experimental work related to clay nanolayers for encapsulation of drops or nanoparticles, using experimental approaches such as those described above.
  • Aid PhD students or MSc students working in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab at NTNU working on topics closely related to clay nanolayers for encapsulation of drops or nanoparticles.
  • Aid in writing proposal for experiments to be performed at international synchrotron or neutron facilities.
  • Aid in writing and refining scientific publications or innovation activities based on the work in the Soft and Complex Matter Lab at NTNU.

Required selection criteria

A postdoctoral research fellowships is a qualification position in which the main objective is qualification for work in academic positions. You must have completed a Norwegian doctoral degree in experimental physics,materials science, chemistry or related  or corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian doctoral degree is required.

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant .

  • The position requires strong experimental skills.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience with clay or other colloid functionalization, nanoparticle synthesis and preparation may be considered an advantage.
  • Experience with soft or condensed matter experimental physics, in particular experienced use of the experimental methods listed above will be considered an advantage.
  • It will be considered an advantage if the applicant has data-analysis skills in e.g. Matlab.
  • Experience with experimental training and teaching will be taken into accountin the evaluation process.
  • Good written and oral English.

Personal characteristics
  • Creative, with a strong ability to work goal-oriented and independently.
  • Good skills to deliver oral and written presentations of research results.
  • He/she should also enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in working in teams, which is of particular importance in this collaborative project.

We offer
Salary and conditions

The employment period is 3 years.

Postdoctoral candidates are placed in code 1352, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 545 300 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis, with the exception of the time periods of planned research missions to the collaborating laboratories described above.


About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include :

  • An application letter that shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the specific criteria and general research approach which are set out above, as well as your motivation.
  • CV, certificates and diplomas.
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment.
  • Name and address of three referees

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.


General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Jon Otto Fossum, email jon.fossum@ntnu.no . If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Head of Department of Physics Professor Erik Wahlstrøm, e-mail: erik.wahlstrom@ntnu.no .

Please submit your application electronically via jobbnorge.no with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI) .

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number 37/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.04.2021

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Physics

Our research and teaching are both experimental and theoretical, covering a wide range of disciplines. Our activities contribute to development of new medical technology and to finding solutions for the next generation’s communication technology, energy utilization and development of materials. The Department of Physics  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences .


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