PhD student in Chemistry with focus on physical organic chemistry for novel solar cell materials

The Department of Chemistry – Ångström conducts research and education in the chemistry field. The department has more than 270 employees and has a turnover of 290 million SEK. At the department’s six programs, we conduct very successful research of a high international standard. We have a large number of externally funded research projects, often with international cooperation and we see continued good growth in our subject area. The department has education assignments in engineering programs and master’s programs.

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This recruitment is connected to the Wallenberg Initiative Materials Science for Sustainability (WISE). WISE, funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, is the largest-ever investment in materials science in Sweden and will encompass major efforts at Sweden’s foremost universities over the course of 10 years. The vision is a sustainable future through materials science. Read more:

All early-stage researchers recruited into the WISE program will be a part of the WISE Graduate School, an ambitious nationwide program of seminars, courses, research visits, and other activities to promote a strong multi-disciplinary and international network between PhD students, postdocs, researchers, and industry.

DutiesThe main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

The PhD student is expected to synthesize and explore organic compounds for applications within an emerging branch of photovoltaics that is based on a photophysical process called singlet fission. The project will include organic synthesis of molecules capable of singlet fission. These molecules will be studied by laser spectroscopy techniques, primarily time-resolved fluorescence and transient absorption on timescales ranging from femtosecond to millisecond. The PhD student is expected to learn and develop their skills in both organic synthesis and laser spectroscopy, and hence, will obtain a broad expertise relevant for answering fundamental questions in materials and chemical science. The PhD student should design, plan, perform the experimental work, as well as critically analyze and discuss the results, initially with close guidance by the supervisor. As the PhD student develops they are expected to become more independent in taking the initiative and planning the research. The student is expected to participate actively in WISE workshops and to present their results at scientific conferences as well as in scientific peer-reviewed journals.

Description of the subject/research area: When a molecule or material absorbs a photon an excited state is formed. These excited states have many uses, they can for example be used in solar cells. However, in most cases, one absorbed photon only leads to one excited state. Singlet fission is a photochemical process that from an initially formed singlet excited state of one molecule, generates two triplet excited states of two molecules. Hence, if the initially formed singlet state is generated by absorption of a photon, singlet fission effectively splits (fissions) the photon energy to two excited states. Singlet fission has therefore gained a lot of interest as a way to increase the efficiency of solar cells, as two excited states are formed from one photon the generated current could be doubled. The dilemma is that only a very small number of molecules undergo singlet fission. Our ambition is to expand the number of molecules that can exhibit the phenomenon, and for the molecular design we will utilize (de)stabilizing (anti)aromaticity effects in the electronic ground state and in the lowest excited states given by, respectively, Hückel’s and Baird’s rules. The research is carried out in an interdisciplinary team of synthetic chemists, laser spectroscopists and computational chemists.


  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification in chemistry (or related subject) and possess a good understanding of physical chemistry and organic chemistry, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or has acquired essentially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.
  • Have excellent oral and written proficiency in English.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant’s experience and skills complement and strengthen ongoing research within the department, and how they stand to contribute to its future development.

Additional qualificationsPrevious practical experience of organic synthesis and/or spectroscopy is highly desirable

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

For further information about the position, please contact: Henrik Ottosson and Victor Gray,

Please submit your application by 20 February 2023, UFV-PA 2023/65.

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  • Placement: Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory
  • 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: Seko Universitetsklubben seko@uadm.uu.seST/TCO tco@fackorg.uu.seSaco-rådet
  • Number of reference: UFV-PA 2023/65