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PhD Chemistry: Femtosecond vibrational spectroscopy of liquids, solutions, and biomolecules

   College of Science and Engineering

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  Prof K Wynne  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 3.5-year PhD studentship involving the study of the dynamics in liquids, solutions, or biological molecules such as proteins using femtosecond spectroscopy in the Ultrafast Chemical Physics (UCP) group under the supervision of Prof Klaas Wynne. The UCP group has nearly 20 years of experience in femtosecond laser spectroscopy and ultrafast dynamics. In the past few years, we have expanded into ultraslow dynamics using microscopy and in particular fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM).

The PhD project involves a technique called femtosecond optical Kerr-effect (OKE) spectroscopy, which measures molecular dynamics on a timescale from femtoseconds to nanoseconds. Fourier transformation of the signal results in a Raman spectrum that reveals how the molecules vibrate, rattle, rotate, and diffuse. We have been using this techniques successfully to study, for example, room temperature ionic liquids, phase transitions, and the coherent dynamics of proteins. We are now looking for a new PhD student who is interested in applying this technique to either solutions or biomolecules. With our collaborators, we will be able to combine our OKE technique with the complementary technique of two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) spectroscopy. The ideal candidate for this position is a chemical physicist, physical chemist, or somebody with knowledge of optics and lasers. The PhD student will be working alongside a team of postdoctoral researchers with experience in ultrafast techniques, chemical physics, and microscopy.


Applicants should have a good degree in a relevant science discipline (e.g., physical chemistry, physics), be highly motivated and have excellent English communication skills. The successful candidate will need to be enthusiastic about acquiring new skills and have an interest in laser spectroscopy. Research experience, laboratory skills, and demonstrated ability to work independently will be considered an advantage. The position is available to UK and EU residents from October 2016 onwards.

How to apply

Informal enquiries can be made to: Prof Klaas Wynne, School of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ, t: (0141) 330-8522, e: [Email Address Removed], u: Formal applications can be made through the website

Closing date: This PhD position will be advertised until filled but applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early as places are limited and the application process is highly competitive.

Funding Notes

Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK applicants, who fulfil the Research Council UK residency requirements (, as well as paying a stipend at the Research Council rate (estimated £14,254 for Session 2016-17). EU applicants are also eligible for funding to cover fees, and will be considered for a stipend at the Research Council rate.


1. D.A. Turton, H. Senn, T. Harwood, A. Lapthorn, E. Ellis, and K. Wynne, ‘Terahertz underdamped vibrational motion governs protein-ligand binding in solution’, Nature Commun. 5, 3999 (2014). (
2. D.A. Turton, C. Corsaro, D.F. Martin, F. Mallamace, K. Wynne, ‘The dynamic crossover in water does not require bulk water’, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 14, 8067–8073 (2012). (
3. D.A. Turton, J. Hunger, A. Stoppa, G. Hefter, A. Thoman, M. Walther, R. Buchner, and K. Wynne, ‘Dynamics of Imidazolium Ionic Liquids from a Combined Dielectric Relaxation and Optical Kerr Effect Study: Evidence for Mesoscopic Aggregation’, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 11140-11146 (2009). ( [>100 cits.]
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