Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  Quantum vibration: experimental investigation on the role of terahertz vibrations for wavelike excitation energy transfer in photosynthetic systems

   Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Youngchan Kim  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This funded PhD project aims to develop the use of THz-pump optical-probe spectroscopy for investigating the interplay between terahertz vibrations and vibration-induced quantum transport in photosynthesis light harvesting complexes. 

Most biological experiments have largely treated the living systems as behaving according to the laws of classical physics. Surprisingly, evidence suggests that the unique quantum features (e.g., quantum coherence) can be manifest across a range of biological phenomena (Kim et al., Quantum Reports, 2021). The field of photosynthesis has been propelled by 2D spectroscopy that have led to remarkable discoveries indicating that photosynthesis harness quantum-mechanical mixing of electronic and vibrational coupling for excitation energy transfer with high quantum efficiency (Wang et al., Nature Reviews Chemistry, 2019). However, the role of vibration in the energy transfer process is yet fully understood. This proposal aims to uncover the interplay between terahertz vibrations and vibration-induced quantum transport in photosynthesis. THz-pump optical-probe spectroscopy will be used to monitor Chlorophyll fluorescence as a probe of photosynthetic productivity while perturbing the photosynthetic systems by THz radiation, which might shed light on how vibrational coupling in pigment-protein complex exploits the quantum feature to steer energy transfer in chromoprotein. 

Principal supervisor: Dr Youngchan Kim ([Email Address Removed])


Kim Y et al. Quantum Reports (2021) 3, 80-126

Wang L et al. Nature Reviews Chemistry (2019) 3, 477–490

Entry requirements

Open to UK and international students with the project starting in October 2023. Note that a maximum of 30% of the studentships will be offered to international students.

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our PhD programme

How to apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant principal supervisor(s) to discuss the project(s) before submitting their application.

Applications should be submitted via the programme page (N.B. Please select the October 2023 start date when applying).

You may opt to apply for a single project or for 2 of these Centre of Quantum Biology studentships projects.

When completing your application, in place of a research proposal, please provide a brief motivational document (1 page maximum) which specifies:

  • the reference numbers(s) for the project or two projects you are applying for, 
  • the project title(s) and principal supervisor name(s) 
  • if apply for two projects, please also indicate your order of preference for the projects
  • an explanation of your motivations for wanting to study for a PhD 
  • an explanation of your reasons for selecting the project(s) you have chosen

Additionally, to complete a full application, you MUST also email a copy of your CV and 1-page motivational document directly to the relevant project principal supervisor of each project you apply for. Due to short turnaround times for applicant shortlisting, failure to do this may mean that your application is not considered.

Please note that online interviews for shortlisted applicants are expected to take place during the week commencing 30th January.

Project ref number: FHMS-QB-01

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Funding is for 3.5 years and includes UKRI-aligned stipend (£17,668 pa for 2022-23), approved University of Surrey fees and a research budget. This studentship is funded by the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey.