PhD Position in Physics
Uppsala University Department of Physics and Astronomy

PhD student in Physics

Published: 2022-09-01

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 54,000 students, more than 7,500 employees and a turnover of around SEK 8 billion.

PhD student in Physics of ultrafast dynamics of molecules and photocatalysts

The research conducted at the Department of Physics and Astronomy encompasses a wide range of physics topics, distributed over ten divisions. The department is located in the Ångström laboratory and employs nearly 400 people, 125 of whom are doctoral students. It offers a broad physics curriculum to undergraduate and graduate students, participation in nationally and internationally leading projects for researchers, and opportunities for partnership with industry and various outreach activities.

Our research program in Chemical and Bio-Molecular Physics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University focuses on understanding the fundamental properties and ultrafast processes of matter at the atomic length and time scales of Ångströms and femtoseconds. We have a leading position in the use of X-rays for probing atoms, molecules and chemical and biomolecular systems. We develop and apply novel X-ray methods and instrumentation and aim at revealing how the properties of a system result from its electronic structure and dynamics with applications in environmental, biophysical and chemical systems.

We are in a lively and inspiring research and teaching environment with a strong, and highly active PhD representation. The position is placed in the group of Prof. Philippe Wernet. In this group we are currently working on understanding the coupling of electronic, spin and nuclear coordinates in the photo-induced dynamics of molecules, on photochemical bond activation by metal complexes, and new methods for revealing the local chemistry of bond-activating metalloproteins. Research will be carried out using experiments at synchrotron radiation facilities and X-ray free-electron lasers combined with femtosecond laser spectroscopy at Uppsala University.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University


Ultrashort X-ray pulses will be used to probe chemical interactions and ultrafast dynamics of molecules in solution and in the gas phase. We are looking for a highly motivated, team-oriented, and ambitious PhD student with good experimental skills and a strong interest in fundamental questions about molecular systems and new spectroscopic methods. The aim of the PhD project is to elucidate the coupling of charge, electron spin and nuclear coordinates in the photoinduced dynamics of molecules with various spectroscopy experiments at synchrotron radiation and X-ray free-electron laser sources around the world as well as in the lab at Uppsala University. This will be performed in close collaboration with theory groups specialized in developing new tools for the description of chemical bonding from first principles. The fundamental knowledge acquired in this project is aimed at uncovering basic principles in photocatalysis. We want to understand photocatalytic bond activation and learn how to tailor catalytic reactions. This builds the basis for new sustainable technologies for the transformation of solar energy into chemical energy such as in the form of solar fuels. The main workplace is Uppsala University. A few weeks a year the work takes place abroad.


The applicant must have a Master’s degree in physics, chemistry, materials science or equivalent, ideally but not necessarily with a background in molecular physics or physical chemistry. Fluency in both written and spoken English is an absolute prerequisite.

Additional qualifications

  • Experience with spectroscopy experiments is desirable but not a necessary requirement
  • Background in basic chemistry is an advantage but not a necessary requirement
  • Experience with X-ray spectroscopy, time-resolved spectroscopy or processing and analyzing large data sets is an advantage but not a necessary requirement

About the application

The application, written in English, should include a personal letter, carefully explaining scientific interests and motivation for pursuing a PhD degree, a CV, and a verified list of course grades. If available, a Master’s thesis (finished or in draft form) can also be included. Contact information for two references for letters of recommendation should be included in the application.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines.

About the employment

The employment is a temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. Scope of employment 100 %. Starting date 1 January 2023 or as agreed. Placement: Uppsala.

For further information about the position, please contact: Prof. Philippe Wernet, +46 72 9999707,

Please submit your application by 14 October 2022, UFV-PA 2022/2874.

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Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO
Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2022/2874

Last application date: 2022-10-14

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