Development of a novel translational spectrometer to investigate non-thermal chemistry

   Department of Chemistry

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship is available to a start in September 2024 within the new research group of Dr Jemma Gibbard ( at Durham University. 

Most chemistry is assumed to occur under thermal control. However, when a bond breaks, energy is released causing the products of the reaction to recoil from each other. If significant energy is released, for example following a photodissociation, product molecules with substantial vibrational or translational energy (non-thermal distributions) are produced. These non-thermal fragments can drive further chemistry by increasing the likelihood of further reactions or fragmentation. Therefore, the role of photodissociation as a source of non-thermal fragments could be significant across chemistry, the atmosphere and beyond. Experimentally, the non-thermal energy distributions of fragments can be directly measured using translational spectroscopy.

The focus of this PhD project will be the development of a novel translational spectrometer capable of studying complex ions. The student will be involved in all stages of the apparatus development, including initial simulations and design, construction, and characterisation of the experimental capabilities. Once functional the student will use the new spectrometer to investigate the role of non-thermal chemistry in the atmosphere, by experimentally studying the photodissociation of the iodo-oxides. Throughout there will be the opportunity to write research papers and attend academic conferences.

Please contact Jemma with any informal inquiries () and apply via Durham’s online portal (  

Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

This 4-year PhD studentship includes fees and stipend, is funded by the Royal Society and is open to UK applicants.

Register your interest for this project

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