Postdoc Position: Advanced photonics for ultrafast chiral spectroscopy in the deep ultraviolet

The Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Chiral Molecular Dynamics Laboratory led by Prof. Malte Oppermann studies the molecular transformations that drive biological and chemical processes on the nanoscale. To achieve this, our interdisciplinary research team develops innovative time-resolved spectroscopic tools that use polarization-controlled laser pulses to capture both electronic and structural changes in molecular systems on their natural time scales. We are looking for a creative and highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a background in ultrafast spectroscopy to join our team.

Laboratory website: https://oppermann.chemie.unibas.ch/en/

 

Project background

To capture molecular dynamics in real-time we need experimental techniques that offer both high structural and fast time resolution. However, achieving this in the native solution environment of most (bio-)chemical processes is especially challenging on time scales faster than the millisecond regime (10-3 seconds). Our team has recently developed a new approach to achieve this: we use broadband circularly polarized laser pulses to capture changes in the structural symmetry of molecules, called chirality, to resolve their structural dynamics with femtosecond time resolution [1]. This has opened the path to resolve the structural dynamics of (bio-)molecular systems [2] and to study the chirality of short lived electronic excited states for controlling photochemical processes [3]. To expand the scope of this research, we are now implementing an advanced ultrafast chiral spectroscopy platform at University of Basel, making use of the latest developments in ultrafast laser and photonic technology.

  1. M. Oppermann, B. Bauer, T. Rossi, F. Zinna, J. Helbing, J. Lacour, and M. Chergui, Optica 6, 1, 56-60 (2019), link.
  2. M. Oppermann, J. Spekowius, B. Bauer, R. Pfister, M. Chergui, and J. Helbing, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 10, 11, 2700-2705 (2019), link.
  3. M. Oppermann, F. Zinna, J. Lacour, and M. Chergui, Nat. Chem. 14, 739-745 (2022), link

 

Your position

Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and a Royal Society International Exchange Grant, the project focuses on the implementation of a new ultrafast chiral spectroscopy instrument that will expand the group’s measurement capabilities to the far ultraviolet spectral regime. In close collaboration with Dr. Chris Brahms and his colleagues at Heriot-Watt University, the candidate will take a leading role in the development and construction of state-of-the-art ultrafast spectroscopy set ups based on a customized hollow-core fiber laser pulse source for generating ultra-broadband deep ultraviolet laser pulses. The project will be supported by two doctoral students in Basel and will provide unprecedented access to the electronic and structural dynamics encoded in important ultraviolet chromophores, such as nucleobases in DNA, amino acids and peptide bonds in proteins and small organic ligands in molecular systems.

The position is available immediately but the starting date can be adapted upon mutual agreement. The initial duration of the position is 2 years.

 

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated and pro-active candidate with a Ph.D. in physics or chemistry and research experience in ultrafast spectroscopy. This position is especially suitable for a candidate with a strong interest in method development and interdisciplinary research at the intersection between physics and chemistry. Our research is highly collaborative, so we strive for an inclusive, supportive, and enthusiastic work environment that values a team with diverse interests and personal backgrounds (for further details, please see the Diversity & Inclusion Principles of University of Basel).

For this position, skills and experience in the following areas would be especially valuable assets:

  • Hands-on experience in constructing and maintainingultrafast laser spectroscopy set ups
  • Proven research experience in photochemistry or -physics, molecular dynamics, or material science
  • Hardware control via LabView, Matlab, Python or similar
  • Data analysis with common programming languages such as Matlab or Python
  • Scientific writing
  • Research project management and student supervision

 

We offer

  • A highly interdisciplinary and collaborative work environment in a young research group
  • State-of-the art ultrafast spectroscopy equipment and research infrastructure
  • Coaching and support for career development
  • Excellent salary, benefits and working conditions following Swiss university standards
  • Basel offers a truly international environment, bordering with France and Germany, a wide range of cultural activities and an exceptional quality of life

 

Application and contact

Please send your application to our group's email address group-oppermann@clutterunibas.ch as a single pdf file containing the following items:

  • A motivation letter that describes your suitability for the position (maximum one A4 page)
  • Your curriculum vitae (including a list of publications)
  • Scanned transcripts of your university transcripts and diplomas including grades
  • The names and contact details of at least three referees that can recommend you

The position will be open until a suitable candidate is found, so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.