PhD Position in Molecular Laser Spectroscopy

PhD Position in Molecular Laser Spectroscopy

Published Deadline Location
25 Jul 1 Oct Amsterdam

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Job description

Are you eager to apply advanced laser spectroscopies to develop the next generation of photothermal materials for applications such as sunscreen filters and molecular heaters? Do you enjoy to get the most out of the equipment you’re working with? Then this is the job for you!

Light-to-heat conversion materials generate great interest due to their widespread applications. Amongst these is photoprotection against the harmful effects of UV radiation, which is presently attracting increasing attention because of concerns regarding adverse health and environmental effects of currently used sunscreen filters. Closely related to such materials are molecular heaters that employ heat -the ‘by-product’ produced by photon absorption- to enhance growth in agri- and horticulture. As yet, mainly empirical, brute-force approaches have been applied to develop new materials. We have shown that a bottom-up approach in which a full and detailed understanding of the photophysics and photochemistry of promising leads is obtained by molecular laser spectroscopy, enables the rational development and tailoring of such materials.

What are you going to do?
You will use high-resolution nanosecond laser spectroscopic technologies to determine the spectroscopic properties and excited-state dynamics of mostly naturally occurring compounds that serve as a starting point for further optimization. Together with one of the group technicians you will further optimize the molecular beam spectrometer that has recently become operational, and that is based on photoelectron Velocity Map Imaging. Apart from gas-phase studies you will also perform studies under ‘as-used’ non-isolated conditions. Such studies focus primarily on following in real time the excited-state dynamics using femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopies as well as the dynamics occurring on the electronic ground state after dissipation of the photon energy using techniques such as nanosecond transient absorption spectroscopy. You will support the interpretation of your experimental results with the results of quantum chemical calculations. Based on the inputs from gas-, solution- and in-silico studies, you will propose and study new compounds with improved properties that will be synthesized by the chemical analyst of the group.

You will/tasks:
  • Perform research in and be an active part of the Molecular Photonics group of the van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences;
  • Publish your work and present it at (inter)national meetings;
  • Contribute to the teaching activities of the Institute and supervise BSc/MSc student projects;
  • Contribute to the outreach activities of the Institute.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


A recent MSc degree in chemistry or physics. Please note that you can also apply if you have not finished your Master yet. In that case the starting date of your PhD contract would be slightly after the date that you obtained your Master.

Your experience and profile:
  • You have a strong affinity with combining state-of-the-art laser techniques with advanced vacuum techniques;
  • You are eager to acquire new skills in areas such as quantum chemistry in which you don’t have experience yet;
  • You are creative, highly motivated, like to push boundaries, and do not easily get discouraged;
  • You are able to work both independently and as a team member;
  • You have excellent English communication and writing skills.

Lab experience with experimental laser spectroscopy or other forms of more advanced spectroscopies is a plus.

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting on October 1, 2023, for the duration of four years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended to a total duration of four years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and Masters students.

Based on a full-time contract (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from € 2,770.- in the first year to € 3,539.- (scale P) in the last year. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

The UvA offers excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

What else do we offer
  • A function in which initiative is strongly valued;
  • An enthusiastic team that welcomes new members;
  • An inspiring academic and international environment in the heart of Amsterdam.


Faculty of Science

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight institutes of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) Faculty of Science. HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavor & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organized into four themes: Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Synthesis & Catalysis and Molecular Photonics.

Molecular Photonics (MP) aims to put light to chemical use. We do this in two ways: on the one hand, we develop new materials that convert light to achieve specific goals. On the other hand, we use light to investigate molecular structure and reactivity.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterized by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society. Here you can read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 11966


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098XH, Amsterdam

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