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PhD Studetnship - Ultrafast Photoelectron Spectroscopy as a sensitive probe for molecular structure and dynamics

Computational Systems Chemistry

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Friday 31 December 2021
Reference:  1499321EB

Supervisory Team:    Dr Russell Minns, Dr Maria Krikunova (External, ELI Beamlines)

Project description

Photochemistry involves the coupled motion of atoms and electrons on ultrafast timescales. Measuring this motion requires advanced light sources that can capture the changing electronic structure. Through this project we will exploit the capabilities of high harmonic generation (HHG) based sources for generating ultrashort pulses of light at energies above the ionisation potential of molecules. Molecules in the gas phase will be either aligned in space or excited via light absorption, and, then ionized by the delayed XUV pulse from the HHG source. The high photon energy attainable from the XUV source will allow us to approach a number of electronic states and/or molecular geometries providing a detailed probe of the dynamic molecular electronic structure.

The PhD project will involve close collaboration between the University of Southampton and the ELI Beamlines facility (,  which is located close to Prague in the Czech Republic. The student will be based in Southampton but will spend extended placement periods working at the ELI Beamlines facility in each year of the project. The PhD student will be responsible for the development of advanced photoelectron spectroscopy capabilities at both sites involving building of optical setups, development of high vacuum systems for molecular beam experiments and spectrometers for electron detection and analysis of the subsequent data. At the ELI Beamlines the student is supposed to contribute to the development of experimental capabilities of the user end-station MAC and take an active role in project-related experiments.

The PhD position is funded for 4 years and is a teaching assistant position. This means that the student will also be expected to contribute to teaching and/or outreach activities within the chemistry department at the University of Southampton. This will be most significant in year 1 and will decrease through the 4 years of the project.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Russell Minns via Email:

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 December 2021 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Chemistry (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Dr Russell Minns

Applications should include

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 


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