PhD on Miniaturized microscopy for the continuous biosensing of water pollutants

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 24 Dec 2023

24 Nov 2023
Job Information

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

24 Dec 2023 - 23:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Topic background

Water contamination affects animal life and threatens the supply of clean drinking water in the future. Monitoring of water quality at water treatment facilities and in surface water will allow the identification of excesses and enable timely response. Currently, there are no sensors to measure low concentrations of micropollutants, e.g. hazardous pharmaceuticals, pesticides, other chemicals, or nutrients such as phosphate and nitrate.

TU/e develops single-molecule optical sensors for monitoring biomolecules in both healthcare and environmental applications. The sensors monitor functionalized particles in a miniature imaging system, whose motion responds to the presence of a specific micropollutant/nutrient. This enables continuous monitoring, is extremely specific, and consumes no reagents. This will provide a game changer in the remote monitoring of surface water for e.g. eutrophication, illegal discharges, and contamination at sewage treatment facilities.

The project

You will translate the sensing principles developed at TU/e, into a multiplexed optical prototype for two analytes that achieves long-term optical sensor stability in realistic surface water conditions. This requires developments in (a) the miniaturization of the read-out optics to achieve a highly miniaturized and stable interferometric microscope, (b) integration of electronics, and (c) multiplexing. You will develop a miniaturized interferometric microscope for single-molecule sensing with co-integrated sensors (e.g. temperature, electrical conductivity) that will be used to enable multiplexed sensing and background calibration. You will develop and characterize the sensor in the lab, integrate it into a device, and field-test it.

The research groups

This project will combine the expertise of Wetsus in water technology, and the expertise of TU/e in optical sensing. You will be stationed at Wetsus in Leeuwarden, and closely collaborate with researchers at TU/e.

Wetsus, European centre of excellence for sustainable water technology is a facilitating intermediary for trendsetting know-how development. Wetsus creates a unique environment and strategic cooperation for development of profitable and sustainable state of the art water treatment technology. Wetsus' scientific research program is defined by the private and public water sector, devided into 23 research themes and you will be part of the research theme Sensoring. Around 60 PhD researchers are housed in Leeuwarden. Wetsus has a well-equipped analytical and optical laboratory, and has scientific, analytic and technical staff to support the research.

You will closely collaborate with the Molecular Biosensing research group at the Department of Applied Physics at TU/e. The group hosts ~40 researchers that share facilities and meets weekly. The group performs leading research on optical single-molecule sensing technologies, focusing on particle-based optical sensors. The multidisciplinary team hosts physicists, chemists, and biomedical engineers collaborating in a close-knit team. The lab hosts a range of state-of-the-art single-molecule microscopes in optical laboratories and wet-chemical labs where sensors are functionalized and integrated with fluidics.

Supervisory team

Academic supervisors: dr. P. (Peter) Zijlstra and dr. ir. A. (Arthur) M. de Jong, Molecular Biosensing, department of Applied Physics, TU/e.

Wetsus supervisor: dr. ir. R.M. (Martijn) Wagterveld, coordinator research theme Sensoring, Wetsus.

Specific Requirements

You have a masters degree in optical sciences, applied physics or physical chemistry with proven experience in optics and/or microscopy.

Additional Information

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process .
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Additional comments

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow.

Curious to hear more about what it's like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video .


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr. P. (Peter) Zijlstra. p.zijlstra[at] and A. (Arthur) M. de Jong,[at], Molecular Biosensing, department of Applied Physics, TU/e or R.M. (Martijn) Wagterveld, coordinator research theme Sensoring, Wetsus, martijn.wagterveld[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact

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We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)
Postal Code
5612 AP
De Rondom 70

Where to apply



De Rondom 70
Postal Code

5612 AP


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