Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate: The molecular mechanism of long-range exciton transfer in chiral self-assembled supramolecular matrices

Omvang (fte)
1.0 FTE
Intern, Extern
Geplaatst op
17 december 2018
15 januari 2019

Vacature gesloten

The Leiden Institute of Chemistry of the Faculty of Science is looking for a PhD candidate: The molecular mechanism of long-range exciton transfer in chiral self-assembled supramolecular matrices (1.0 FTE).

Project description

For this project 3 PhD researchers (at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, the Zernike Insitute for Advanced Materials at the University of Groningen, and the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Twente) will together unravel the mechanisms behind the highly efficient energy transport in photosynthesis. Through a combination of spectroscopic techniques and theoretical modeling, the role of molecular rotational movements and quantum instabilities in asymmetric molecular self assemblies will be investigated. This will lead to general nonadiabatic conversion by adiabatic passage principles for responsive matrices for energy conversion and photocatalysis. The positions are available immediately.

Conformational ground state structural dynamics investigated by NMR and sample preparation
The aim of this subproject is to characterize the dynamics, static versus dynamic heterogeneity and the conformational phase space of the selfassembled bacteriochlorophyll in chlorosomes. The successful applicant will prepare 13C, 15N and 2H labelled chlorosome samples for the project and engage in Magic Angle Spinning (MAS) NMR characterization of the molecular ground state dynamics with relaxation studies, Redfield rate matrix analysis of 2D MAS NMR spin diffusion, and targeted analysis of anisotropic motion in chlorosomes for modeling ultrafast energy transfer by transient quantum conversion of exciton states.

Selection criteria

  • Master’s degree in Physical Chemistry, (Bio)Physics or Chemistry;
  • Strong experimental and theoretical skills;
  • Excellent analytical and conceptual ability;
  • Good to excellent proficiency in English;
  • Ability to work independently in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Some experience with preparation and handling of biological samples is required;
  • Experience with MAS NMR is a plus;
  • The PhD research needs to start before May 2019.

Our organisation

The Faculty of Science at Leiden University is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research. The research is embedded in the Solid State NMR group with access to very high and ultra high fields in the uNMR distributed national facility. 

Terms and conditions

We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from €2,266 to €2,897 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Mobility and family allowances as applicable according to Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellowship scheme for early career researchers.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career program. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.  

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school. The PhD candidate will benefit from a personal career development plan with targeted training measures and participation in a range of network activities with other Logic Lab consortium partners.


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries and applications can be made to the PhD supervisor Professor Huub de Groot, ssnmr@chem.leidenuniv.nl.


Please send your application by email to ssnmr@chem.leidenuniv.nl, including an application/motivation letter, emphasizing your specific interest and motivation to apply for this position, a detailed CV, contact details of at least 2 referees, an academic transcript of B.Sc. and M.Sc. education and a TOEFL or IELTS score to verify sufficient mastering of the English language. An interview will be part of the selection procedure. Only applications received no later than 15 January 2019 will be considered.

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