Installation of New Dual-Pharos Laser System

A synchronised dual-Pharos laser system with two OPAs was recently installed in the Oliver labs at the University of Bristol by Light Conversion as part of BBSRC sLoLa grant The Circuits of Life (BB/W003449/1). The dual-amplified laser system is capable of seamlessly interrogating dynamics between 100 fs to 1 ms and will be used to track the long-range energy and electron transfer in novel photoactive proteins.

3-Year Postdoctoral Research Associate Position in Ultrafast Condensed Phase Dynamics

Applications are sought for an EPSRC funded postdoctoral research associate position to work in the Oliver research group at the University of Bristol as part of the EPSRC programme grant Ultrafast Photochemical Dynamics in Complex Environments (EP/V026690/1). The grant is a large-scale multi-centre collaborative project between experimental laser spectroscopists and theoretical chemists from four different UK institutions (Bristol, Imperial, Oxford and UCL).

The overall objectives of the research are: (i) to deepen our understanding of the response of molecular chromophores to absorption of light, and the effects of interactions between the chromophores and their surroundings, on femtosecond to picosecond timescales; (ii) to apply this new understanding to reveal the mechanisms of light-activated processes in two complex but important real-world contexts where photochemistry plays a key role. These chosen contexts address fundamental questions in plant biology (specifically, the regulation of photomorphogenesis) and atmospheric chemistry (the onset of growth of secondary organic aerosols).

The appointed post-doctoral researcher will undertake laboratory studies of the mechanisms of photochemical reactions of organic and bio- molecules on ultrafast timescales, with the objective of understanding how these photochemical dynamics are affected by interactions with a surrounding solvent or protein. The key techniques to be employed will be (i) 2D electronic spectroscopy, (ii) transient absorption and time-resolved infrared spectroscopy. The role will also involve establishing a 2D electronic-vibrational spectroscopy experiment using an established amplified laser system. There will also be opportunities to utilise time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, and a novel laser system capable of seamlessly tracking transient dynamics spanning femtoseconds-to-milliseconds.

Applications are strongly encouraged from suitably qualified candidates from all backgrounds, especially those historically under-represented in scientific research. The School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, providing mentorship and a collegial inclusive working environment for all staff.

The advertised position is available for up to 3 years in the first instance, with the possibility for extension.

Further details about skills required for the position, and the online application process are available here. Details of the wider Bristol Laser Spectroscopy and Dynamics Group can be found at Please direct informal enquiries to:

The application deadline is 28th November 2022.

3.5-year PhD studentship available for September 2023 start

A fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship is available to start in September 2023 in the Oliver research group at the University of Bristol.

Natural photosynthetic proteins efficiently absorb solar light and convert this into sugars required for growth and cellular function. This exquisite light-driven natural process is the net result of multiple complex reactions initiated by electronic energy transfer and charge transfer.

Ultrafast laser spectroscopy has been an indispensable tool for elucidating the chain of high-energy events that occur after light is absorbed by chromophores in natural proteins.

The full intricate functionality of natural photosynthesis has, to-date, not been replicated in fully synthetic proteins. The PhD project is closely linked to a multidisciplinary project ( which aims to address this deficiency by creating novel modular light harvesting proteins and redox-active enzymes, by combining the expertise of biochemists, computational and synthetic chemists with ultrafast spectroscopists.

Using state-of-the-art ultrafast laser spectroscopies you will investigate the energy and charge transfer pathways in novel and specially designed photoactive proteins from the consortium of collaborators (Bristol, UEA, UCL, Portsmouth). The techniques include: transient absorption and time-resolved spectroscopies capable of monitoring dynamics seamlessly from 100 femtosecond to 1 millisecond; 2D electronic and 2D electronic-vibrational spectroscopies.

The rate constants determined by ultrafast studies will be used to identify the mechanisms for energy and charge transfer within the assembled proteins, and pinpoint bottlenecks or potential deficiencies in the synthetic proteins. These will be used as a critical inputs to optimise the synthetic protein proficiency.

You will part of a team of postgraduate students and post-doctoral research fellows in the excellently equipped and well-funded Oliver research group at Bristol, part of the Bristol Laser Spectroscopy and Dynamics Group.

Applicants should hold a good honours degree (or equivalent) with subject knowledge in Chemistry, Chemical Physics or Physics.

You will receive a stipend to cover your living costs at the level set by UKRI:

Contact Dr. Tom Oliver ( for further details.

Well done Fabiola!

Congratulations to Fabiola Cardoso Delgado who passed her PhD viva voce exam. In her PhD studies, Fabiola used reflectance microscopy and time-correlated single photon counting to investigate the response of iridescent chloroplasts in Phyllagathis rotundifolia to different light conditions. Fabiola is now a post-doc at the University of Southern California with Steve Bradforth.

BBSRC sLoLa grant success

As part of a consortium led by Ross Anderson (Bristol Biochemistry), Tom Oliver has secured a BBSRC sLoLa grant BB/W003449/1 worth £4.9 m entitled “Creating and comprehending the circuitry of life: precise biomolecular design of multi-centre redox enzymes for a synthetic metabolism”.

The project seeks to investigate the flow of energy and electrons through individual and arrays of photoactive de novo proteins. The project encompasses protein design, modelling, synthesis and spectroscopic characterisation between groups from Bristol (Anderson, Curnow, Oliver and Mulholland), Portsmouth (Lichtenstein), UCL (Marechal) and UEA (Butt)

Within the Oliver group, ultrafast laser spectroscopies such as transient absorption, time-resolved infrared and 2D electronic spectroscopies will be used to unravel the excited state processes and the flow of energy within these designer proteins spanning femtoseconds-to-milliseconds timescales.

EPSRC programme grant commences

Bristol-led 6-year EPSRC programme grant Ultrafast Photochemical Dynamics in Complex Environments started last month. The grant led by Andrew Orr-Ewing seeks to understand how the photochemistry of molecules is changed by their environment using a variety of techniques that include: Coulomb explosion imaging, transient X-ray absorption spectroscopy, multidimensional optical spectroscopies, time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy and ab initio multi-spawning theoretical calculations. The expansive collaborative project brings together groups from UCL (Helen Fielding and Graham Worth), Imperial (Jon Marangos), Oxford (Claire Vallance and Mark Brouard), Durham (Basile Curchod) and Bristol (Andrew Orr-Ewing and Tom Oliver).