PhD Studentship in Combining X-ray Free Electron Laser Probes of Chemical Dynamics
University of Southampton School of Chemistry
United Kingdom

PhD Studentship in Combining X-ray Free Electron Laser Probes of Chemical Dynamics

Computational Systems Chemistry

Location:  Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020

Reference:  1260720EB

Supervisor:                 Dr Russell Minns

Project description

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to come and work in the group on the use of femtosecond XUV and X-ray probes of chemical dynamics. 

The project will combine valence shell photoelectron spectroscopy measurements with atom specific core shell spectroscopies to study the UV driven photochemistry and dynamics of substituted heterocycles. The experiments will be performed at international X-ray free electron laser facilities, national and international high harmonic generation based laser facilities and at our own labs in Southampton. By combining a variety of probes each with their own sensitivities we will obtain the most detailed mechanistic information on the electronic driving forces behind the structural dynamics and chemical changes that ensue. Through chemical substitution we will monitor how this changes the excited state electronic structure landscape and how this manifests in different branching ratios and reaction outcomes. 

You will be involved in all aspects of the work. From developing and building new experimental capabilities, to collecting and analysing data. The project will also involve some software development for data acquisition/analysis and there will be opportunities to gain proficiency with commercial quantum chemistry computational platforms such as Gaussian. The project is therefore well suited to those with an interest in photochemistry, lasers and spectroscopy and would suit graduates with a first degree in physics, chemistry or another closely aligned subject.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Russell Minns, Minns Research Group, Email: r.s.minns@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3897

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD Chemistry (Full time)” as the programme. Please enter Russell Minns under the proposed supervisor.

Applications should include: 

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: feps-pgr-apply@soton.ac.uk 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in Chemistry. In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN Silver award in 2014 a and a second Silver award in 2017.  Chemistry gives full consideration to applicants that wish to work flexibly including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy*, onsite childcare facilities. For further information please visit

*subject to qualifying criteria


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