PhD student in CO2 Conversion to Hydrocarbon – Heterogeneous Catalysis on Atomic Level under Operando Conditions. AlbaNova universitetscentrum, Stockholm (Sweden)

The Department of Physics is located in the AlbaNova University Center and has approximately 240 employees, 250 students at undergraduate level and 90 graduate students. There are four research subjects within the postgraduate program: Physics, Theoretical Physics, Chemical Physics and Medical Radiation Physics. These subjects span over several research groups with different research activities. For information about the Department of Physics, see:

Project description
Subject: Physics or Chemical Physics.

The society faces a great challenge to mitigate and reverse the present global climate change. All facts indicate that this change is caused by CO2 emission to the atmosphere by human activity, and large efforts are presently made to find alternative ways to meet our energy demand. One route to go might be capture of CO2 in the atmosphere and by surface catalysis convert it to fuel. For this, however, we need to develop efficient catalytic processes, which requires an improved understanding of the individual reaction steps from reactant to product on an atomic level.

The goals of the project are to implement vibrational sum-frequency generation (VSFG) spectroscopy to probe catalytic processes in operando conditions, as in an active electrochemical cell and gas-solid heterogenous catalysis under high-pressure conditions. The particular system to which this will be applied is the carbon dioxide reduction reaction to fuels with the aim to understand the reaction mechanism, chemical binding to surfaces and chemical bond formation. An important part of the studies will comprise of developing experimental cells to allow vibrational VSFG investigation of this. For increased information detail, the VSFG is planned to be extended to 2D-VSFG, aiming at couplings between various degrees-of-freedom in the system, as well as THz pump-VSFG probe to explore means of exerting control of the reaction.

The research will be conducted within a larger collaborative research project together with Stanford University lead by Prof. Anders Nilsson directed towards developing fundamental understanding of energy transformations for green energy purposes which involves also groups with expertise in computations and x-ray spectroscopies. For more information, please visit

We would also like to make students aware of the possibility to apply to the open positions within any field of Experimental or Theoretical Physics, advertised by the Physics Department (reference number SU FV-1101-18 and SU FV-1102-18 respectively).

Education at the research level
A PhD education at Stockholm University is four years (48 months). The 4-year PhD program includes at least 3 years of research and at most one year of course work. The position may be extended by up to one year if up to 20 % teaching assistance or administration is included in the contract. The PhD student is employed (“doktorandanställning”) during the studies, with a monthly salary starting at SEK 25 300.

Qualification requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to be accepted as a PhD student in Physics or Theoretical Physics a BSc in Physics (or equivalent) is required. The studies must include 60 credits of second-cycle courses in physics out of which at least 15 credits correspond to a second-cycle degree project. The degreeproject does not have to have been examined at the application deadline, but work corresponding to half a semester of full-time studies should have been devoted to it. For the subject Chemical Physics courses in chemistry may replace the required physics courses.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their capacity to benefit from the training. The successful applicant will be selected based on documented theoretical and experimental knowledge relevant for the area of study, knowledge of scientific theory and method, analytical skills, personal motivation and team working skills. Well-developed English language skills are required. The applicants are encouraged to provide supporting documents that substantiate qualifications, e.g., knowledge, skills, abilities and experience. References and interviews will be used to assess qualifications of the applicants. We seek a self-motivated candidate with good analytical abilities and skilled in English.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at:

Terms of employment
Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

For more information, please contact Prof. Tony Hansson,

Further information about the position can be obtained from Prof. Per-Erik Tegnér,

Union representatives
Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST and Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 20 00 (operator), (SEKO), and PhD student representative,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system by clicking the “Apply” button. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references
    Your academic referees should send us recommendation letters no later than April 24, 2018, via e-mail to: and state in the subject line: SU FV-1099-18 + name of the applicant.

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement
    – why and how you wish to complete the project
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 6 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University – our education and research produce results.

Closing date: 24/04/2018


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