Postdoctoral researcher in Laboratory Astrochemistry at Faculty of Science, Van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam. The Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight research institutes of the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science.

HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organised into four themes: Sustainable Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

The Molecular Photonics group is active in various areas of photophysical and photochemical research. One of the special areas is astrochemistry, aimed to enhance the interplay between chemistry and astronomy research by bringing state-of-the-art chemistry research to astronomical applications.

Salary indication: €2,476 to €3,908 gross per month
Closing date: 15 January 2016
Vacancy number: 15-386

Project description

Aromatic hydrocarbons are important molecules in many fields such as photochemical research, environmental physics, and nanophysics. They are also of major importance in astrochemistry or the chemistry in interstellar matter, where they play a key role in the formation of planets and are possible precursors of life. Although they are ubiquitous, little is known about their inventory in space. In this project, state-of-the-art spectroscopic laboratory techniques will be applied and new approaches will be developed to investigate the spectral signatures of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) species. Specifically, the project targets the spectral characteristics of neutral PAH molecules in the near infrared (NIR) and aims to help interpret current and future ground-breaking astronomical observations and identify possible fingerprints needed to determine the shapes and sizes of PAHs in space and thereby the role they play in interstellar chemistry.

Tasks involved – The postdoctoral researcher will be appointed at the University of Amsterdam for a period of 2 years.

  • He/she will perform high-resolution vibrational spectroscopy on PAH species of different shapes and sizes in the NIR.
  • He/she will also perform experiments at the FELIX Laboratory of the Radboud University in Nijmegen to have access to an extended infrared range.
  • He/she will collaborate with the Leiden Observatory to help implement the experimental findings in existing astronomical PAH models and to make the results available for the advancement of anharmonic quantum chemical calculations.
  • This will provide him/her with a well-rounded research in astrochemistry and position him/her well for a further career in this field.

Requirements / qualifications – 

For this position the required background is a PhD degree in laboratory chemistry, astrochemistry or related fields. Experience with laboratory spectroscopic techniques and first-hand experience with interdisciplinary collaborations is desirable. The successful candidate should be willing to become familiar with observational and modeling aspects of astronomical spectra. Experience with supervision of PhD students is desirable. The desired start date is early spring 2016, with a possibility to delay the start date to fall 2016.

Further information

For further information, please contact:


The initial appointment will be on a temporary base for one year, with an extension of one year depending on the candidate’s performing. The salary will be in accordance with the University regulations for academic personnel, and will range from €2,476 to €3,908 (salary scale 10) gross per month. This is excl. 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end of year bonus. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable

Application Procedure – 

Applications may only be submitted by sending your application to To process your application immediately, please quote vacancy number 15-386 and the position you are applying for in the subject-line.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a motivation letter (why did you choose to apply for this position), and the names and contact details of two academic referees. All these should be grouped in one PDF attachment.

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