Department of Physics and Astronomy

PhD student in Energy Materials Physics with specialization on corrosion resistant materials (MSCA COFUND project 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 bring 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.

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.

The division of X-ray Photon Science is world-leading in the use of advanced spectroscopy methods. This puts us in the forefront in atomic-level studies of atoms, molecules and condensed matter. This division includes the research programme Condensed Matter Physics of Energy Materials, with a special focus on studies and development of materials, surfaces and interfaces of interest for different energy applications, and therefore also the development of a sustainable society. We are a diverse and collaborating research group that shares the same general goal of unraveling the mechanisms that take place in complex systems related to photovoltaics, batteries, fuel cells, and catalysis. The project is hosted by the research programme Condensed Matter Physics of Energy Materials and includes partners from the Swedish metal research institute SWERIM and Alleima, one of Sweden’s leading manufacturer of advanced stainless steels and special alloys. Further, the project is also a part of the MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS, which 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.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

Project description
Corrosion causes materials to degrade with huge losses as a result and both economic and environmental factors therefore motivate a search for more corrosion resistant materials. A specific area of interest is metallic materials found in fuel cells and electrolysers for hydrogen production, which are exposed to a harsh environment where corrosion is a risk. The understanding of the boundaries between materials and surrounding environments at the atomic scale and under electrochemical control is essential to develop new corrosion resistant materials. In this project photoelectron spectroscopy and related techniques will be used to follow corrosion at an atomic level while it is taking place in an aqueous environment, i.e. in-situ or operando. The project will deliver a fundamental understanding of the corrosion process in coatings of complex alloys, which is particularly important for the design of new types of coatings and alloys with high corrosion resistance.

You will study industrially relevant materials and interfaces using various characterization techniques. An important aspect of this work will be the use of methods that combine photoelectron spectroscopy with electrochemistry to study corrosion while it is happening, i.e., in-situ. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES) and ambient pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (AP-XPS) both at synchrotron radiation facilities as well as in-house are central in this project for studying the chemical composition of surfaces and interfaces. This will be combined with electrochemical measurements, both in-situ and ex-situ. As part of PRISMAS, the project include a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV synchrotron in Lund, Sweden, where the HIPPIE beamline offers the rare possibility of AP-XPS with electrochemical control. 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 specialised courses at different universities to complement your knowledge.  A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

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 your main work or studies.

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

In addition to the criteria abovementioned, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field, such as Physics or Materials science.

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

Fluency in both spoken and written English is a prerequisite.

Additional qualifications
You should be highly motivated to pursue experimental x-ray-based research in an active team with interest to immerse yourself into physics aspects as well as advanced sample preparation aspects.

Experience in photoelectron spectroscopy, electrochemical methods and other material analysis methods (e.g., electron microscopy) will be considered a merit as well as work with ultra high vacuum (UHV) equipment. Experience of work at synchrotron facilities will also be a merit.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how your experience and skills complement and strengthen ongoing research at the department.

The application should consist of

  • 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 (

Uppsala University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

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

The employment is a temporary position for four years at 100 % of full time according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. The position is foreseen to start on 01/09/2023. Placement: Uppsala

For further information about the position or research project, please contact: Rebecka Lindblad,

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

Please submit your application by May 2 2023, UFV-PA 2023/791.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? Find out more about what it´s like to work and live in Sweden.

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-09-01
Salary Fixed salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100 %
City Uppsala
County Uppsala län
Country Sweden
Reference number UFV-PA 2023/791
Union representative
  • ST/TCO,
  • Seko Universitetsklubben,
  • Saco-rådet,
Published 03.Mar.2023
Last application date 02.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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