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Funded PhD position; in Strongly Coupled Plasmas; at School of Electrical Engineering; KTH Royal Institute of Technology; in Sweden

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as in architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

Become a part of world-leading research and education! The School of Electrical Engineering is one of ten schools at KTH. We conduct research and education in Electrical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Information Technology, Space, Fusion and Plasma Physics. The field of electrical and electronic engineering at KTH is internationally recognized and places high in international rankings. The school is responsible for bachelor and master programs in Electrical Engineering which are closely linked to our research fields. 450 people work together in an international environment in eight departments and in the Dean’s office.

The Ph.D. student will be hosted by the Department of Space and Plasma Physics. The department consists of about 15 faculty members, researchers and Ph.D. students who contribute to a high professional standard of intensive work and quality results, as well as to a friendly and open environment. The staff has a multicultural background and the working language is English. The department has many research collaborations with excellent partners worldwide, and is involved in several European and national projects.

Project description

Solid dust grains of nanometer to micrometer size, when embedded in plasmas, get charged by constantly collecting and emitting plasma particles and / or radiation. For large dust densities, the dust component is dominant concerning energy and momentum transfer and the plasma can be considered as one-component. This is the case of complex plasmas, where the ambient plasma only provides the dust charge and the screening of the repulsive Coulomb forces. By control of the plasma or gas parameters and the dust densities, laboratory complex plasmas can attain virtually all known states of matter. The relevance of complex plasmas to conventional liquids and solids opens up a completely new approach to the experimental study of strongly coupled systems, since the characteristic length and temporal scales are “stretched” by a large factor compared to molecular or atomic systems.

Plasma Kristall-4 (PK-4) is a microgravity facility born from the collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). PK-4 is a multi-functional plasma source, an elongated dc-rf discharge with advanced dust manipulation capabilities particularly suited for investigations of liquid complex plasmas. It has been on board of the International Space Station from October 2014 with the first commissioning experiments successfully performed in June & October 2015. The KTH team has been involved in the PK-4 project since its inception.

The project is devoted to the use of microgravity complex plasmas as model systems for the study of static and dynamic processes in liquids at the particle level. Apart from fundamental characteristics such as the static structure as well as linear waves and transport, long-standing issues concerning dynamical heterogeneity and super-cooled liquids near the glass transition point will be addressed. The scientific tasks are centered on experiments which are accompanied with dedicated statistical analysis and modelling efforts (theory and simulations).  We seek a candidate for the PhD position to support our efforts in the statistical analysis of the upcoming data and the comparison between experiment and modelling. The work will be carried out in close collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the University of Tromsø, Norway.

The PhD program in Electrical Engineering provides world class quality education, including a large list of graduate courses ensuring an in-depth development of relevant competences and skills. KTH offers an attractive working environment, generous remuneration, as well as other employment benefits. As a PhD student at KTH you have many opportunities to participate at conferences, projects and other relevant events which will extend your professional network and benefit your future career.


The successful applicant is expected to hold or to be about to receive a MSc degree in Physics or Electrical Engineering. Specialization in plasma physics and/or statistical mechanics is an asset. Required qualifications criteria include familiarity with data analysis methods and/or applied mathematics.

The successful applicant should have an outstanding academic track record, and well developed analytical and problem solving skills. We are looking for a strongly motivated person, who is able to work independently. Good command of English orally and in writing is required to publish and present results at international conferences and in international journals.

Trade union representatives

You will find contact information to trade union representatives at KTH:s webbpage.


Log into KTH’s recruitment system in order to apply to this position. You are the main responsible to ensure that your application is complete according to the ad. Your complete application must be received at KTH no later than the last day of the application period.

The application must include:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Copy of the degree certificate(s) and transcripts of records from your previously attended university-level institutions. Translations into English or Swedish if the original documents are not issued in one of these languages.
  • Statement of purpose: Why do you want to pursue a PhD, what are your academic interests, how they relate to your previous studies and future goals; maximum 2 pages long.
  • Representative publications or technical reports: Documents no longer than 10 pages each. For longer documents (e.g. theses), please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Contact information for two reference persons. We reserve us the right to contact references only for shortlisted candidates.


The employment is time limited following the regulations for Ph.D. employment in the Higher Education Ordinance (~ 5 years when 80% PhD studies and 20% department service including teaching).

We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

Type of employment: Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type: Full time
First day of employment: According to agreement, preferably as soon as possible
Salary: Monthly salary according to KTH’s Ph.D. student salary agreement
Number of positions: 1
Working hours: 100 %
City: Stockholm
County: Stockholms län
Country: Sweden
Reference number: E-2017-0944

Svetlana Ratynskaia, Professor,

Mikael Visén, HR administrator,, +46 8 790 84 89

Deadline: October 04, 2017

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