PhD candidate in physical chemistry and modeling

PhD candidate in physical chemistry and modeling

Published Deadline Location
21 Jan 9 Feb Leiden

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Leiden University, the Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a PhD candidate in physical chemistry and modeling

Job description

The title of the project is ‘Converting Sunlight to Storable energy’. The PhD position is available immediately at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry in the group of Prof.dr. Huub de Groot and in direct collaboration with world leading groups in the recently awarded EU project "SUN2CHEM, Converting Sunlight to storable chemical energy ".

The aim of the PhD project is to provide a rational design engineering framework for optimization of Photoelectrochemical PEC cells and photocatalysis over the entire photon to product reaction coordinate by the design of improved device morphologies that allow for 90% photon absorption and 80% chemical conversion into products, i.e. an overall photon to product efficiency of 70%. Our approach aims to decompose the system in modules that make up minimally complex devices in such a way that every module will serve one functional requirement. In this way independence of the functional requirements is maintained and the information content of the design is minimised. We will identify the layers, nanoparticles, molecular and bulk solid-state entities to perform relevant processes such as light harvesting, charge separation, catalysis, proton transport, electron transport, supply of substrate etc. We will establish interfaces and determine system morphologies of integrated devices. The PEC systems engineering framework enables a rational approach for improvement, focusing on the interfaces between active elements. Selective interfaces from other partners in the project will be simulated in the computer, guided by advanced physico-chemical (NMR, EM, Electrochemistry) characterization of available materials performed in Leiden. In the computer simulations process variables (e.g. electron transfer rate, proton transfer rate, catalytic rate, feedstock supply rate etc.) will be balanced at interfaces between modules by tuning of modules within their system ranges to bring the process variables into the design range required for synergistic photon to C2H4 product conversion with high yield.


Leiden University


  • Master’s degree in chemical engineering, physical chemistry, physics or chemistry;
  • Strong experimental and theoretical skills;
  • Excellent analytical and conceptual ability;
  • Good to excellent proficiency in English;
  • Ability to work independently in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Some experience with modeling is required;
  • The PhD research needs to start before May 2020.

Conditions of employment

Successful candidates will be offered a full-time position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. The salary ranges from €2,325.- to €2,972.- gross per month (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%), and 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.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.


Leiden University

The Faculty of Science at Leiden University 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. The research is embedded in the Solid State NMR group with access to very high and ultra-high fields in the uNMR distributed national facility.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 20-023



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