PhD Position Integrated Topology and Controller optimization for Mechatronic positioning systems

Create record-breaking motion systems through integrated computational design.
  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


Motion systems are used throughout the semiconductor and high-tech industry for fast and precise positioning in e.g. microscopes and chip production process. Motion system design unites structural dynamics, actuation, sensing and control. To achieve optimal performance of these mechatronic systems, this project aims to develop new computational design approaches where structure and controller design are integrated. Use of topology optimization and additive manufacturing allows for maximum geometric design freedom, and consideration of tailored damping material distribution is expected to raise the system performance to unprecedented levels. A foundation for integrated controller-structure optimization is in place from a previous project. Your challenge is to extend this towards more realistic control solutions and performance targets, and to develop a method to co-optimize a tailored and manufacturable damping layout.  While the main focus is on development of new computational design methods for motion systems, realization and validation of two full-scale hardware demonstrators, in close collaboration with industry partners, also forms an important part of this project.  


  • An MSc degree in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering (or equivalent), obtained within the last 3 years.
  • Strong academic credentials relevant to this PhD project, evidenced e.g. by strong grades on numerical modeling, optimization, mechatronic system design, control theory and/or related subjects.
  • Experience with structural (topology) optimization is required. Knowledge of finite element modeling and control theory is desired.
  • Good analytic and programming skills. Experience with Python and/or C++ is an asset.
  • This PhD project involves high performance computing. Experience with parallel programming is an asset.
  • You are a self-starting teamplayer with a drive for excellence, and enjoy working on industry-relevant technological challenges within an academic environment.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.


Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Meer informatie

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Matthijs Langelaar (