Postdoc Position: Advanced photonics for ultrafast chiral spectroscopy

The Ultrafast Chiral Dynamics Laboratory at University of Basel, led by Prof. Malte Oppermann, develops time-resolved laser spectroscopy techniques to capture both the structural and electronic evolution of chiral molecular systems during their (bio-)chemical activity in real-time. We are looking for a creative and highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a background in ultrafast spectroscopy to join our interdisciplinary team.

Laboratory website:


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 phase of most (bio-)chemical processes remains a formidable experimental challenge – especially on the fastest time scales of molecular motion. To address this, our team has developed a new spectroscopic approach. We use broadband circularly polarized laser pulses to capture changes in the structural symmetry of molecules, called chirality, to resolve the enconded conformational 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 electronic excited states for controlling photochemical processes [3]. To expand the scope of our research, we are now implementing a new ultrafast chiral spectroscopy platform at University of Basel, making use of the latest developments in 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

In close collaboration with the Dr. Chris Brahms and the LUPO group at Heriot-Watt University, we are currently implementing a customized hollow-core fiber-based laser source for generating ultra-broadband femtosecond pulses with unique access to the far ultraviolet (UV) regime. Coupled to our approach to ultrafast chiral spectroscopy, we will capture the electronic and structural dynamics encoded in important UV-chromophores, such as nucleobases in DNA, amino acids and peptide bonds in proteins and small organic ligands in molecular systems. On this basis, the candidate will support the design and implementation of new ultrafast spectroscopy instruments and contribute to our ongoing research on chiral photochemistry. Together with a large network of collaborators, our team currently focuses on three system classes: chiral luminescent materials, chiral photoswitches and chiral metal nanoclusters. Going forward, the successful candidate is encouraged to develop their own research as part our program.   

The position is available immediately but the starting date can be adapted upon mutual agreement. The initial duration of the position is 3 years and the project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and a Royal Society International Exchange Grant.


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 ultrafast laser spectroscopy
  • Research experience in photochemistry or -physics
  • Hardware control via LabView, Matlab, Python or similar
  • Data analysis with common programming languages such as Matlab or Python
  • 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 personal 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 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 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.