PhD position in Physical Chemistry at the University of Twente, the Netherlands

Can vibronic coupling aid efficient photochemical conversion?

The importance of electronic, vibrational and mixed electronic-vibrational quantum coherence in solar energy conversion is under intense debate. Femtosecond oscillations in excited state signals are well known, however a key question is whether they are only a ‘spectator’ or critical for functionality. Photochemical processes such as electron and proton transfer can occur as fast as vibrational motions and are strongly dependent on interatomic distance and orientation, hence structural dynamics likely play an important role. Using quantum coherence may enhance functionality by stabilizing charge separation and introducing directionality in charge transport.  

The aim of this PhD research is to establish the importance of vibrational motions of water oxidation photoanodes on its efficiency and the responsible light-induced processes, which will be characterized by ultrafast spectroscopy. We will in particular focus at the occurrence, mechanism and time constants of proton-coupled electron transfer. The oscillation amplitude of specific vibrational motions will be modulated by advanced photoexcitation schemes, enabling new design approaches for efficient photoelectrodes.

For more information, please contact Dr. Annemarie Huijser (j.m.huijser@utwente.nl).

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