Controlling and studying rotational quantum states of molecules during molecule-surface collisions.

Project Supervisors:

  • Supervisor 1: Professor Gil Alexandrowicz, Department of Chemistry, Swansea University.
  • Supervisor 2: Dr Helen Chadwick, Department of Chemistry, Swansea University.

Closing date for applications: 1 May 2021

Start date: 1 September 2021

Project description:

The surface dynamics group in Swansea University is home to a unique molecular interferometry setup, capable of coherently controlling and measuring the rotational quantum states of a ground-state molecule as it collides with a surface. This is currently the only instrument world-wide which can perform such experiments, providing unique insight into the interaction of a molecule with a solid surface. This MSc project, which is part of our 5-year ERC consolidator research project “rotational waves”, will be aimed at performing quantum controlled collision experiments of hydrogen molecules with various metallic and insulating surfaces. The student will perform both the molecular beam measurements and the numerical simulation analysis of their results. The outcomes of this research project are expected to provide crucial benchmarks for checking the ability of state-of-the-art theoretical methods to model the interaction of molecules with surfaces.

The research activities are along the interface between physics and physical chemistry. Excellent applicants with degrees in either one of these disciplines are encouraged to apply. Depending on the progress of the research, and the availability of further funding, this MSc project could potentially be converted into a PhD research project.

Further reading about the project: Further reading about the technique:


Candidates must have a first class honours degree in Physics or Chemistry or closely related discipline. Candidates must also have performed a research project during their undergraduate studies and be able to provide references from their project supervisor. Informal enquiries before the deadline for formal applications are strongly encouraged by emailing Gil Alexandrowicz - and Dr Helen Chadwick

This scholarship is open to UK, EU and international candidates.

For candidates whose first language is not English, we require IELTS 6.5 (with 6.0 in each component) or equivalent. Please visit our website for a list of acceptable English language tests. We prefer candidates to have already met the English Language requirements at the point of application, although this is not a requirement.


This is a two year fully-funded ERC scholarship, which covers UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £18,000.

How to apply:

Candidates are strongly encouraged to initially contact Prof. Gil Alexandrowicz ( and Dr Helen Chadwick ( to informally discuss their potential suitability for this project prior to submitting a formal application.

Candidates must complete and submit the following documentation by the stated deadline. To apply for this studentship, please download the research scholarship application form and return to the College of Science with the following:

  • Academic References – all scholarship applications require two supporting references to be submitted. Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as their references form a vital part of the evaluation process. Please either include these with your scholarship application or ask your referees to send them directly to
  • Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates – academic transcripts and degree certificates must be submitted along with the scholarship application by the funding deadline. We will be using these to verify your academic qualifications.
  • A recent CV
  • Candidates should use the ‘Supplementary Personal Statement’ section of the application form to explain why the award they are applying for particularly matches their skills and experience and how they would choose to develop the project.
  • Please include ‘ERC 1 MSC SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION’ in the email subject header.

Please email the documents to