Faculty of Health, Science and Technology

Karlstad University takes pride in combining active external cooperation with academic excellence. Karlstad University has around 16 000 students and a staff of over 1 300 members. Democratic principles, equality and diversity are cornerstones of the University. We value the enriching presence of diverse backgrounds and competencies among students and staff. Read more about working at Karlstad University at https://www.kau.se/en/work-with-us

The Faculty of Health, Science and Technology invites applications for two doctoral studentships in physics within material physics, specifically in the area of organic solar cells and molecular semiconducting materials, at the Department of Engineering and Physics.

The research in material physics at Karlstad University (https://www.kau.se/en/physics) includes studies of surface structures, nano-materials, solar cell materials, and molecular semiconductors. You will be a part of a research group whose research aims to contribute to efficient and durable organic solar cells by achieving a better understanding for the relationships between processing, morphology, performance, and stability in polymer solar cells. The research on molecular materials for polymer based solar cells has been recognised through research grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Energy Council, the Swedish National Space Agency, the Göran Gustafsson Foundation, and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

PhD studentship 1 - focus Morphology: Your research will strengthen the ongoing Knut and Alice Wallenberg-funded research programme “Mastering Morphology for Solution-borne Electronics” (https://www.kau.se/en/sola) in which research groups from Karlstad University, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University, and Linköping University collaborate.

PhD studentship 2 - focus Stability: Your research will be part of the research project “Interfaces for Durable Solution-Processed Solar Cells” (INDUSS), funded by the Swedish Energy Council.

PhD studentship 1: The main goal of the PhD project is to predict and control the structures that are formed in thin films of semiconducting polymer blends during drying of multicomponent solutions and optimize them for their use in polymer solar cells. To be able to follow the dynamics of structure formation in-situ and to determine local film composition and structure, spectroscopy and microscopy methods will be used and developed and the underlying mechanisms will be investigated.

The main duties involve experimental work, analysis of results, and modelling at the nanoscale. Of particular relevance for this project will be the use of our AFM-IR setup.

PhD studentship 2: The main goal of this project is to extend the lifetime of organic solar cells and to achieve a better understanding of degradation mechanisms. To track the changes in the solar cell material spectroscopy and microscopy methods will used and developed and the relationship between these material changes the performance and lifetime of the solar cells will be studied.

The main duties include experimental work, analysis of results, and development of characterization methods. Of particular relevance for this project will be the use of our recently purchased multi-method instrument for electrical characterisation (PAIOS).

The relevant microscopy and spectroscopy techniques that are available at Karlstad University for both projects include scanning probe microscopy (AFM, C-AFM, AFM-IR), electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS, UPS). Preparation and electrical characterisation of photovoltaics devices will be carried out in our well-equipped solar cell laboratory. You are expected to take part in the writing of scientific publications and present research results at international conferences.

The doctoral projects includes a close collaboration with colleagues and external partners within the research field. Since experimental work is a part of the position, you are expected to be based at the university to the extent required by the tasks and the activities at the department. Periods of experiments at synchrotron radiation facilities in Sweden (MAX IV) and abroad may occur a few times per year. In addition, neutron-based techniques may be used.

A doctoral student is mainly expected to engage in doctoral studies. The doctoral programme consists of 240 higher education credits, including the doctoral thesis. Departmental duties, such as teaching, or other tasks, may be allocated up to 20 percent of full time.

For admission to doctoral studies, applicants must meet the requirements of both general and special eligibility (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 7 sect. 35)

Applicants with completed degree at Master level, who have completed at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 credits at Master level, or who have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in another way in Sweden or abroad, meet the general eligibility requirements.

Special eligibility for admission to doctoral studies in physics requires applicants to have a Master  level degree in Physics, with a specialization in a relevant area for doctoral studies in physics. Eligible are also applicants with other degrees at advanced level, with at least 60 higher education credits in a relevant area for doctoral studies in physics, for example, a degree of Master of Science in Engineering Physics or teacher degree with relevant specialization in physics.

Admission and assessment criteria
Admission is based on individual assessment of the applicant’s capacity to complete a programme at doctoral level successfully (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 7, sect. 35).

Assessment for both PhD studentships:

Good skills in English, both orally and in writing, are required.

Special weight is given to:

  • A successfully executed degree project at Master level on a topic that is relevant to the PhD project.
  • Documented knowledge in condensed matter physics, quantum mechanics, and molecular spectroscopy.
  • Personal qualities, such as good cooperation skills, ability to work independently, good organisational skills, thoroughness and excellent communication skills, as well as ability to create good relationships with colleagues.

Considerable weight is given to:

  • Documented practical experience of the above mentioned relevant microscopy and spectroscopy methods for materials characterization.
  • International experience.

For PhD studentship 1, considerable weight is additionally given to:

  • Documented knowledge in physical chemistry.
  • Documented knowledge of methods for modelling and simulation of materials.

For PhD studentship 2, considerable weight is additionally given to:

  • Documented knowledge in physical electronics (device physics).
  • Documented practical experience of methods for manufacturing and characterization of organic solar cells.

Terms of employment
Upon admission to doctoral studies, a studentship position will be offered (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 5, sect.3). The position is a full-time, fixed-term employment (one year that can be extended by two years at the most at a time) with starting-date by agreement.

Further information
Karlstad University places great value on the enriching presence of diverse backgrounds and gender balance in the organisation.  We welcome applicants with different cultural backgrounds, gender identities, functional abilities and life experiences.

Application should include well documented qualifications. Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application in accordance with the advertisement before deadline and for ensuring that the documentation allows for objective and qualitative assessments. An incomplete application may jeopardize a fair assessment of qualifications. The application should include the full contact details to two reference persons, of which at least one is a former or current supervisor, or equivalent.

The application should include

- cover letter describing your background and interest in the position,

- CV

- degree certificates

- transcripts of completed courses, or a certified list of completed courses with grades and dates, including a clarification of the grading system.

- copy of Master’s thesis, or equivalent. English summary of the thesis, in case the thesis is in a different language.

- copies of publications or certificate of other qualifications, if applicable,

- a letter of recommendation.

Submit the application via the University’s web-based recruitment tool, Varbi, and attach all the documents and publications you wish to be considered to the electronic application (do not provide links to them). Name each uploaded document to clearly indicate its content. Indicate in the recruitment tool which position you are applying for, i.e. 1, 2 or both.

Documents that cannot be submitted electronically should be sent to: Karlstads universitet, Fakulteten för hälsa, natur och teknikvetenskap, Registrator, 651 88 Karlstad, Sweden State the ref. no: REK 2020/53

Last day of application: 23 november 2020

We look forward to your application!

Karlstad University has chosen advertising channels for this recruitment and firmly declines any contact with advertising or recruitment agencies.  


Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment By agreement
Salary Monthly.
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Karlstad
County Värmlands län
Country Sweden
Reference number REK2020/53
  • Lars Johansson, Head of department, +46 54 700 1677, lars.johansson@kau.se
  • Ellen Moons, Professor, +46 54 700 1903, ellen.moons@kau.se
Union representative
  • Thomas Bragefors, SACO, +46 54 700 1714
  • Thomas Bragefors, SACO, +46 54 700 1714
  • Tony Ingemarsson, Lärarförbundet, +46 54 700 1404
Published 03.Nov.2020
Last application date 23.Nov.2020 11:59 PM CET

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