PhD Position in Unravelling Water Dynamics in Prussian Blue Analogues

Uppsala University Department of Chemistry


PhD in Unravelling Water Dynamics in Prussian Blue Analogues

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with 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 46.000 students, 7.300 employees and a turnover of SEK 7.3 billion.

The Department of Chemistry - Ångström conducts research and education in the chemistry field. The department has more than 250 employees and has a turnover of 250 million SEK. At the department's six programs, we conduct very successful research of a high international standard. We have a large number of externally funded research projects, often with international cooperation and we see continued good growth in our subject area. The department has education assignments in engineering and civil engineering programs and master's programs. More information is available on our website.

Subject description/research project: One of the most promising electrode materials for beyond lithium ion batteries are Prussian blue analogues (PBAs) with highly competitive electrochemical performance compared to their cost. One of the greatest challenges facing the material today is its moisture sensitivity which can cause capacity fading during storage and side reactions inside a battery. However, completely removing water from the structure introduces extra layers of complexity due to the dramatic phase transition experienced by cation rich PBAs. Currently very little understanding exists on the role that water plays in stabilising the structure or on influencing the cation migration behaviour through the porous structure or on the influence. If a solution to the water sensitivity of the material is to be found, the benefits that water brings must be understood at a fundamental level in order to design effective solutions. This project will unravel the role that water plays in both stabilising the structure and facilitating fast ion transport in PW through a combination of neutron diffraction (ND), inelastic and quasi-elastic neutron scattering (INS and QENS, respectively). To support these measurements other techniques such as X-ray diffraction, mössbauer spectroscopy, thermal analysis, imaging, IR/Raman, UV/vis, NMR and electrochemical testing such as chronoamperometry and cyclic voltammetry to extract information on sources of resistance and the rate of diffusion of mobile species. The project will involve applying for and travelling to (or making use of mail in capabilities of) international facilities such as the ISIS neutron facility and the Diamond synchrotron light source in the UK, the DESY synchrotron light source in Germany and the MaxIV synchrotron light source in Lund. Finally, as the project involves significant collaboration with A. Prof. Maths Karlssons group at Chalmers, part of the work will be based in Gothenburg.

Work duties: The student is expected to study a series of PBAs within the system AxFe[Fe(CN)6]1-y.zG, synthesised by another PhD student. The student will utilise a combination of techniques to characterise the structure and properties with a key focus on neutron diffraction, inelastic and quasi-elastic neutron scattering. In addition, the student will take initiative to gain access to and utilise other methods to support the core project, either through collaboration or performing the work themselves. The student must design, plan and execute the experimental work, occasionally in collaboration with other researchers nationally and internationally, critically analyse and discuss the results, and present their work orally at scientific conferences and written in the form of papers in peer-reviewed journals. Finally the student is expected to participate in all mandantory group activities, including becoming the responsible person for specific lab equipment.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements: A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.


  • degree or equivalent as above in chemistry and physics.
  • very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • student should be highly motivated, willing to ask questions and eager to learn new science and show strong perserverence in the face of challenging tasks.

Consideration will also be given to good organisational discipline, collaborative skills, drive and willingness to take initiative, enthusiasm and independence Finally, how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Additional requirements: Prior experience with the Rietveld method, QENS and/or performing experiments at major facilities is considered a strong advantage.

Terms of employment: The rules about PhD students are found in the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 5 §§1-7 and the university's rules and guidelines.

Application procedure: The application should include a statement of research interest, CV, certificates of exams, degrees and grades, a copy of Master thesis, published article or relevant materials, if available. Also, contact information of at least two reference persons should be included.

Salary: According to local agreement (Local collective agreement for doctoral students and students).

Starting date: 2021-02-01 or as otherwise agreed.

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

Scope of employment: 100 %

Location: Uppsala and Gothenburg

For further information about the position please contact:  Dr William Brant, or A. Prof. Maths Karlsson,

Please submit your application by 17 December 2020, UFV-PA 2020/4060.

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Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory

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: Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2020/4060

Last application date: 2020-12-17

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