Faculty of Health, Science and Technology

Descriptions of Prismas

PRISMAS - PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network, training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron experts, co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme.
As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state of the art tools that will lead to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. Complemented with a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.

Description of the workplace

The Faculty of Health, Science and Technology invites applications for a doctoral studentship in Physics at the Department of Engineering and Physics. Materials Science is one of the faculty’s strategic research areas, conducted in a multidisciplinary environment. The materials physics group has a broad scope of interests, including research on solar cell materials. One research group, led by professor Ellen Moons, conducts research in emerging solar energy materials, such as molecular semiconductors and halide perovskites for solar cells. The group has a broad international network of collaborators. The research laboratories are well equipped with modern facilities for the fabrication and testing of solar cells and numerous instruments for characterization of the structure, composition, electronic structure and optical properties of materials. The research team is a frequent user of synchrotron-based X-ray spectroscopy.


  1. The Photooxidation of PC60BM: New Insights from Spectroscopy, Iulia Brumboiu, et al., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 24 (2022) 25753. DOI: 10.1039/D2CP03514F.
  2. Impact of intentional photo-oxidation of a donor polymer and PC70BM on solar cell performance, Vanja Blazinic, et al., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 21, 40 (2019) 22259. DOI: 10.1039/c9cp04384e.
  3. Over 14% efficiency all-polymer solar cells enabled by a low bandgap polymer acceptor with low energy loss and efficient charge separation, Qunping Fan, et al., Energy & Env.Sci.13, (2020) 5017. DOI: 10.1039/D0EE01828G.

What we offer

Upon admission to doctoral studies, a fixed-term position as doctoral student will be offered. Being employed as a doctoral student includes the same benefits as other employees at the  university. We offer flexible working hours, health maintenance benefits etc. Read more about staff benefits here kau.se/en/work-us/work/benefits
Karlstad University wants to give all staff members the best possible opportunities for a good work/life balance.

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. Supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.


The main task is to participate in the project “Soft X-ray spectroscopy study of molecular semiconductors for durable organic photovoltaics”, MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS.
A doctoral student is mainly expected to engage in doctoral studies. The doctoral programme consists of 240 higher education credits, including the doctoral thesis. A doctoral student works independently and is prepared to further the work of the subject.

To contribute to a positive work environment and the department’s activities, the doctoral student will be a present and active part of the day-to-day operations and workplace community.

In this project we aim to investigate the photodegradation processes of high-performance molecular semiconductors that make up the photoactive layer of organic solar cells (OSC). These materials will be studied by soft X-ray spectroscopy techniques, such as core-level and resonant photoelectron spectroscopy, as well as X-ray absorption spectroscopy. OSCs have become a viable solar energy technology, with power conversion efficiencies reaching above 18%. However, the operational lifetime of OSCs needs to be improved. Understanding the degradation mechanisms of the materials in a variety of environments is therefore an important research challenge. Ambient-pressure (AP)-XPS to follow degradation processes in-situ in controlled environments to reveal the degradation kinetics and its dependence on the environment. The outcome of this study will contribute to a better understanding of the electronic structure of these state-of-the art materials will provide guidelines for mitigation of photo-induced degradation and pathways towards more durable organic solar cells. 

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory  in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialized courses at different universities to complement your knowledge.  A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.


Qualification requirements

To be eligible for doctoral studies, the applicant must meet the general and specific entry requirements.

By the employment date (before 01/09/2023) you must have been awarded a second-cycle degree, completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in Physics, with a specialization in a relevant area for doctoral studies in Physics. Eligible are also applicants with other degrees at second-cycle level, with at least 60 higher education credits in a relevant area for third-cycle studies in Physics.

You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme, if you are a doctoral candidate, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during  the period 2020-05-01 to 2023-05-02 for work or studies as main occupation.

To be eligible for doctoral studies the applicant must be judged to have the ability required to pursue the programme successfully.

All applicants must have a very good command of English, oral and written.

Admission and assessment criteria

Admission is based on individual assessment.

Personal qualities, such as a positive attitude, good ability to collaborate, responsibility and ability to work independently, as well as excellent written and oral communication skills, will be given considerable weight in the assessment.

Previous experience of research in a relevant research area is a merit, for instance manufacturing and characterization of molecular semiconductor materials, electrical testing of solar cells and for the project relevant spectroscopy and microscopy methods.


Upon admission to doctoral studies, an employment as doctoral student will be offered. The position is a fixed term position for four years at 100 % of full time and foreseen to start on 01/09/2023.  A position as doctoral student can contain some limited teaching or other departmental duties, up to a maximum of 20%. If applied, the employment is up to five years. The employment is for one year initially, followed by possible extensions of a maximum of two years at a time.

The salary corresponds to the standard level of salary for doctoral students at Karlstad University.


Applications are to be submitted via the Varbi, kau.se/en/work-us/work/vacancies  and must include the following documents:

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.
  • at least one reference letter
  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of academic records (including marks for all coursework) with a transcript of diploma in English,
  • and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

These documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded.

The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience.

Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (lu.se)

Last date to apply: 2 May 2023


For more detailed information on the position or the research project, please contact:
Lars Johansson, Head of Department, e-mail: lars.johansson@kau.se, mobile +46730943868
Ellen Moons, Professor, e-mail: ellen.moons@kau.se, mobile: +46733016995

If you have questions on the selection process, please contact:

For questions on the employment conditions and the university, please contact: 
HR representative                   Elisabeth Wessling, +46547001778

Union representative              Denita Gustavsson, OFR +46547001434
                                                Thomas Bragefors, SACO +460547001714

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-09-01 or by agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Karlstad
County Värmlands län
Country Sweden
Reference number REK2023/25
Published 02.Mar.2023
Last application date 02.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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