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UniBE PhD position: long range electron transfers and intramolecular electrostatic fields with multidimensional transient Stark shift spectroscopy

Your job

The scientific content of the project concerns the achievement of a deeper comprehension of the fundamental molecular processes underneath efficient long range (>1nm) charge and energy transfers in macromolecules, supramolecular systems, aggregates and polymers. This knowledge is crucial on the one hand to understand how electron-transfer proteins and photo-sensors work, on the other hand to conceive more efficient artificial photo-catalysers and molecular machines.
These very fundamental processes ultimately involve a change in time of charge densities, of polarizability, and of local electrostatics inside the macromolecule while the functional process in ongoing. While in the last decades we have reached a more thorough view of structural aspects and we are making important strides toward an understanding of structural dynamics, we are still far to comprehend the role of local intramolecular electrostatics and of the polar properties of intermediate states. This is due to the lack of specific techniques able to access directly this elusive information and to time-resolve them on the proper times for electronic and nuclear motions, namely fs to ns.

We are offering a fully funded position to for a PhD position in our group at the Institute of Applied Physics of the University of Bern (Switzerland) to develop an innovative experimental approach where femtosecond time-resolved coherent electronic spectroscopies (Fourier transform four wave mixing spectroscopy or, shortly, 2D photon-echo) are combined with sources of strong THz single-cycle pulses to carry out transient Stark-shift spectroscopy to investigate charge dynamics triggered by Vis or UV fs pump pulses. This original approach will open the way to a deeper comprehension of the mechanisms underlying charge transfer and localization with the long term prospect to manipulate such a kind of phenomena.
This is a challenging and stimulating task where different techniques (generation of ultra-broadband pulses, pulse shaping, phase-stable detection schemes) have to be mastered and synergistically coupled. As a chosen candidate, you will be completely involved in this research project with the main goal of contributing to the development and implementation of this methodology and to apply it to the study of different phenomena in different molecular systems. These will include electron transfer and formation of charge separation states in metal complexes and bio-molecules, excitionic couplings in antenna systems, photo-induced structural and dynamical modifications in photosensors and macromolecules.

Your profile

We are seeking for a motivated researcher with a strong background in molecular physics, physical chemistry or laser physics and a strong interest in one or more of the following fields: organic chemistry, lasers, nonlinear optics, femtosecond spectroscopy, light-matter interaction, theoretical chemistry. You should have an active attitude, an accurate way of working, and excellent communicative and collaborative skills.
The research activity will have a strong experimental character with a clear focus on fundamental aspects of molecular science. Graduate students with a diploma or master degree in Physics, Chemistry, or closely related subject, are welcome to apply.
The appointment is immediately available. The salary is based on the salary scale of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The employment rate is 100 %.

You will be registered as a PhD Student at the ETH Zurich. Your main working place will be at the Paul Scherrer Institute.

We offer

Your application should consist of:
• A cover letter, emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications, and motivation to apply for this position.
• A full Curriculum Vitae, including a list of all courses and grades obtained.
• A short description of your MSc research.
• Reference letters and contact information of two scientific staff members.

For further information:
Contact person: Andrea Cannizzo
Contact address: IAP, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
NCCR MUST Office : ETHZ IQE/ULP-HPT H3 | Auguste-Piccard-Hof 1 | 8093 Zurich | E-Mail | +41 44 633 36 02
The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation