PhD candidate in Molecular Laser Spectroscopy

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 01 Feb 2019

Faculty of Science – Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
Publication date
11 December 2018
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,266 to €2,897 gross per month
Closing date
1 February 2019
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight research institutes of the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science. HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organised into four themes: Sustainable Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

The Molecular Photonics Group  is active in various areas of photophysical and photochemical research. One of the special areas is astrochemistry, aimed to enhance the interplay between chemistry and astronomy research by bringing state-of-the-art chemistry research to astronomical applications.

Project description

One of the major challenges of the 21st century is feeding the constantly growing world population. This requires an increase in agricultural and horticultural production, while the quality and quantity of arable land is rapidly declining. Recently, the BoostCrop consortium consisting of six European academic groups (and staff spanning Chemistry, Physics and Biology), one government institute and an SME with an outstanding track record for developing sustainable agro-technologies has been financed by the European Community’s Future and Emerging Technologies program to develop so-called molecular temperature controllers that can improve the germination and growth processes of plants. These molecules prevent cold stress, and the idea is to eventually process them in a spray to improve crop growth at low temperatures.

The PhD candidate to be appointed at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) will perform high-resolution laser spectroscopic studies on these molecular temperature controllers. Part of the research might also be performed at the Radboud University (RU) where the group has access to dedicated equipment for Free Electron Laser spectroscopic studies and equipment for state-of-the-art time-resolved studies. With these frequency- and time-domain studies you will determine the spectroscopic and dynamic properties of the electronically excited states of molecular temperature controllers and elucidate potential harmful decay channels. Together with the input from the other teams, this will form the basis for the development of novel molecular temperature controllers with properties tailored for the application of interest. As member of BoostCrop you will be working in a multidisciplinary environment encompassing synthesis, spectroscopy and photophysics, analytical chemistry, theory and computation, plant biochemistry, plant physiology, food safety and agricultural biotechnology. You will attend the regular meetings of BoostCrop in which the various teams report their progress, and will have the possibility to perform research at the laboratories of the other members if considered to be useful.


What do we require of you?

  • A MSc. degree in a relevant field (physics or chemistry). If you have not finsihed your Masters yet, you can still apply. The starting date of your PhD contract will be slightly after the date that you obtain your Master;
  • have an affinity with experimental physical chemistry;
  • being able to work both independently and as a team member;
  • have good communication skills in the English language;
  • experience with experimental laser spectroscopy is a preferred but not restrictive condition.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


The desired start date of the project is in March 2019 but excellence prevails over starting date. The full-time appointment will be on a temporary base for a maximum period of four years (18 months plus a further 30 months after a positive evaluation) and should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). An educational plan will be drafted that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from € 2,266 in the first year to € 2,897 in the final year, according to the Dutch salary scales for PhD candidates. This is excl. 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable. 

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

You may send in your application using the link below.

Please upload the following information in a single PDF file (not zipped):

  • cover letter/letter of motivation (at most 1 page), why did you choose to apply for this position;
  • curriculum vitae, including list of publications;
  • the names and contact details (email and telephone numbers) of two academic references.

We will recruit until the position is filled. The selection process commences immediately, but will close when a suitable candidate has been found, even if this is prior to the final date of the application window. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam

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