PhD Position in Studying Hydrogen in Amorphous Materials

Uppsala University Department of Physics and Astronomy

PhD Position in Studying Hydrogen in Amorphous Materials

Published: 2021-01-19

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 45,000 students, more than 7,000 employees and a turnover of around SEK 7 billion.

The research conducted at the Department of Physics and Astronomy encompasses a wide range of physics topics, distributed over ten divisions. The department is located in the Ångström laboratory and employs nearly 400 people, 125 of whom are doctoral students. It offers a broad physics curriculum to undergraduate and graduate students, participation in nationally and internationally leading projects for researchers, and opportunities for partnership with industry and various outreach activities. Fins out more at

The project will be jointly carried out within the Divisions of Materials Physics and Material Theory, where we cover a wide range of topics within materials and condensed matter physics: see and Thus, the candidate will benefit from working in an exceptionally diverse environment and will have ample opportunities to interact and collaborate with leading theoretical and experimental groups.

Duties/Project description: Climate change and competitiveness are key policy drivers for Sweden and Europe, issues that become more palpable at the backdrop of a commitment to zero net emission of greenhouse gases by 2045. An increasing number of industry sectors want to eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels and one such example is an ambitious goal of eliminating fossil fuels in the steel and mining industry by 2045. A part of the strategy of the steel industry is to replace carbon by hydrogen in the steel making process. Hydrogen is also expected to play a larger role in terms of mobile and stationary applications, as well as an energy buffer in this industry and others as an attractive means to decarbonising the energy systems.

The PhD project will contribute to these grand challenges by exploring new amorphous metallic systems to create hydrogen superhighways and robust roadblocks. Lack of control of the flow of hydrogen in materials is a severe hindrance for many applications such as switchable mirrors, hydrogen gas sensing, hydrogen-induced embrittlement and hydrogen storage. Contrarily to crystalline materials, amorphous solids lack long-range atomic order and represent a fascinating and active field of study and pose intriguing scientific questions regarding the role of order on physical properties.

The project involves a combined experimental and theoretical screening method for finding new amorphous metals to create hydrogen superhighways and robust roadblocks. We will develop and use combinatorial thin film techniques to create composition gradients on a chip and screen the whole phase diagram of amorphous metal hydrides for potential candidate materials using optical transmission.

The PhD project is to blend two research fields: (i) creation of new amorphous metals and discovering their properties with x-ray, optical and electrical measurements, and (ii) numerical simulations to predict and screen new candidates.

This project will help to improve our understanding of amorphous solids and will establish a bridge to connect their properties to those of crystals. Additional novel, unexpected phenomena should emerge due to the new interplay between structural order and physical properties.

The ultimate goal of the PhD student is not only to open and study a new research field but also to explore the frontiers of the possible applications of the new materials.

Requirements: The applicant should have a MSc degree in Physics or equivalent.  Very good skills in spoken and written English are required.

Additional qualifications: Courses or other experience in one or more of the following areas are considered a merit: thin film synthesis, x-ray scattering, practical experience with optics or electric properties of films, computational physics, density functional theory, and molecular dynamics. Since the candidate will carry out experimental work as well as numerical simulations, the applicant is expected to have an interest in both experimental and computational physics. Personal qualities such as dedication, motivation, initiative and independence are valuable.

How to apply:The application should include a letter of intent that explains general research interests, specific interests in the announced PhD project, and what unique skill set the applicant can contribute with to the success of the project, especially past experiences regarding the topics listed above as being of great importance for this position. The application should include a CV, a copy of the Master's thesis (or a draft thereof) and any other relevant documents. Furthermore, contact details for at least two letters of references should be provided.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines

Salary: According to local agreement for PhD students.
Starting date: 01-05-2021 or as otherwise agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7.

Scope of employment: 100 %.

For further information about the position please contact: Gunnar Pálsson (, Ralph Scheicher (

Please submit your application by 31 March 2021, UFV-PA 2021/118.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at

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Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO
Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2021/118

Last application date: 2021-03-31

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