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Can vibronic coupling aid efficient photochemical conversion

PhD position “Can vibronic coupling aid efficient photochemical conversion”?


Research description

The importance of electronic, vibrational and mixed electronic-vibrational quantum coherence in solar energy conversion is under intense debate. Femtosecond oscillations in excited state signals are well known, however a key question is whether they are only a ‘spectator’ or critical for functionality. Photochemical processes such as electron and proton transfer can occur as fast as vibrational motions and are strongly dependent on interatomic distance and orientation, hence structural dynamics likely play an important role. Using quantum coherence may enhance functionality by stabilizing charge separation and introducing directionality in charge transport.  

The aim of this PhD research is to establish the importance of vibrational motions of water oxidation photoanodes on its efficiency and the responsible light-induced processes, which will be characterized by ultrafast spectroscopy. We will in particular focus at the occurrence, mechanism and time constants of proton-coupled electron transfer. The oscillation amplitude of specific vibrational motions will be modulated by advanced photoexcitation schemes, enabling new design approaches for efficient photoelectrodes.


Your profile

*  You are highly motivated and an enthusiastic researcher (F/M).

*  A MSc degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or equivalent.

*  You have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research.

*  A keen interest in understanding complex photophysical and -chemical processes.

*  Excellent experimental and analytical skills.

*  You are fluent in English.

*  A pro-active attitude and the ability to work independently within an interdisciplinary team.


Our offer

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities and include:

*  Salary ranging from € 2.395,- gross/month at the start to € 3.061,- gross/month in the 4th year.

*  Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a bonus of 8.3% and a solid pension scheme.

*  A training program in which you and your supervisors will make a plan for education and supervision.

*  As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Twente Graduate School.

*  We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, but also stimulate interaction and discussion with colleagues.

 About our PCS Group

You will perform research within the Photocatalytic Synthesis group (PCS), which is part of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology. The PCS group has a dynamic, multidisciplinary and international character, and outstanding infrastructure. The focus of the research program is on the conversion of solar or electrical energy into chemical energy to drive thermodynamically uphill reactions such as water splitting or reduction of carbon dioxide.

 Further information and application

For more information, please contact Dr. Annemarie Huijser ( and Application only via the button within this link: PhD position “Can vibronic coupling aid efficient photochemical conversion”? (

The position is available from January 1, 2022 and should be started the latest May 1, 2022. An interview and scientific presentation will be part of the selection procedure.

 Your application should include the following documents:

*  Motivation letter, emphasizing your research interests and motivation to apply for this position.

*  Curriculum vitae.

*  Contact details of at least 2 references.

*  An academic transcript of BSc and MSc education.

*  Your MSc research thesis.

*  TOEFL or IELTS score to verify sufficient mastering of the English language.