Donnerstag, 4. August 2011

PhD position Leiden University

The Solid State NMR group at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden
University has a PhD studentship (38 hrs a week) available in the Modular
Design of a Bio-Inspired Tandem Cell for Direct Solar-to-Fuel Conversion.

Apply before august 21, 2011.

Project description
The successful candidate will participate in the SOLARFUELTANDEM
collaborative research project (CPR) of the European Science Foundation
Eurocores programme EUROSOLARFUELS. The principle objective of this
collaborative project, shared between its 10 European contributors, is the
modular design of a bio-inspired nanostructured organic-inorganic
heterojunction tandem cell for solar to fuel conversion. The vision is to
work from a combination of natural and artificial modules for catalysis and
charge separation and explore a range of different combinations for
functional tandem device concepts. This allows the consortium to work in
parallel on modular systems integration and optimization of components.
Self-assembled Zn chlorin nanocylinders forming excitations with internal
charge transfer character will be aligned in an alumina solid membrane to
form a supramolecular sensitizer for ultrafast charge separation and charge
injection into a low-bandgap Si semiconductor. In this heterojunction
system, two regions of the solar spectrum can be used in tandem to overcome
the thermodynamic barrier for water oxidation and hydrogen production with
visible light in a single device. Two complementary synthetic strategies
will ensure access to a wide library of Zn chlorins. Post-functionalization
of Chl a and BChl c will ensure rapid preparation of compounds for
self-assembly and photophysical studies, also with 13C labels. Total
synthesis will give full control over the pattern of substituents for
fine-tuning of all required physicochemical properties. We will use most
sturdy natural PS2 and Pt modified PS1 systems from C. merolae with a very
high photosynthesis rate as working photocatalysts for optimization of
catalyst interfacing to semiconductors. In a parallel supramolecular
approach we will prepare homogenous Ru/Ir/Co water oxidation and Fe/Ni/Co
hydrogen formation catalysts for immobilization and interfacing to natural
and artificial electron transfer units. Optical spectroscopy, NMR, EPR,
electrochemistry, X-ray crystallography and modeling will be used in the
partnership to assess the kinetics of the multi-electron catalysis and dual
band gap electron transfer mechanisms to guide the design. The final aim of
the CPR is to give proof of principle of a functional tandem device. The PhD
student will primarily contribute to the CPR with structure-determination
and structure-function studies of chlorosome-type supramolecular dye
sensitizers. This contribution to the project will be considered a success
if he or she can guide the design of the chlorosome cylindrical rods into an
operational functional supramolecular dye sensitizer for application in an
artificial reaction center concept.

See also:
Ganapathy S et al. (2009) Zinc chlorins for artificial light-harvesting
self-assemble into antiparallel stacks forming a microcrystalline
solid-state material. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Ganapathy S et al. (2009) Alternating syn-anti bacteriochlorophylls form
concentric helical nanotubes in chlorosomes. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences 106:8525­8530.

You will be employed for a period of maximally 4 years, which is expected to
lead to the completion of a Ph.D. thesis. Appointment will be through the
Organization for Fundamental Research of Matter (FOM).
An appointment with FOM includes a pension build-up and facilitates other
benefits such as an annual holiday premium.
All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School
of Science ( and in the Research School
The Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC). 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. This guarantees a
challenging environment to develop on-the-job the skills and academic

Further information:
You will be supervised by Prof. Dr. H.J.M. de Groot
( For more information please contact this email

Qualified applicants are invited to submit their application before August
21, 2011. They should include a letter of interest, a full curriculum vitae,
and names and email addresses of two references and sent to with subject FOM-Solarfueltandem.