PhD in Atomic and Molecular Physics


PhD in Atomic and Molecular Physics

It became operational in 2009/2010. The minimum number of credits for the degree is 240 (4 years).


Physics is a key area of expertise. Along with mathematics, physics is the foundation of all other scientific and technological areas. Physics inherited from ancient philosophy the function to demand the truth, the laws and the overarching concepts that allow us to explain the matter, the universe and even life. In this sense, physics is the scientific area that is at the knowledge frontier.

Its importance for the development has been recognized by the United Nations, which declared 2005 the International Year of Physics.

Fulfilling the objectives of the 3rd cycle to ensure training leading to conceptual or instrumental innovation capabilities, critical analysis and evaluation, promotion of technological progress, skills that result from specialization and systematic understanding of a scientific-technological sub-area and the acquisition of skills and methods of research, this doctoral program aims at training specialists with great capacity for innovation and technological progress to promote the following sub-areas of physics:

Surfaces and Interfaces Physics (thin films, catalysis, interface processes at the molecular level, surface spectroscopies)

Studies in Advanced Materials (nano-structures, insulators, broadband semi-conductor metal oxides, magnetic materials and super-conductors, liquid crystals)

Atomic and Molecular Interactions (Proceedings in environmental and biological molecules, interaction of molecular beams, relativistic self-consistent studies of atoms and molecules)

Nuclear Reactions (nuclear reactions relevant to Nuclear Astrophysics)

Optical (Multi photoionization, nonlinear optics)

Development of materials (written and lab) for Basic and Secondary Education, including teacher training.

These sub-areas, covered topics correspond to areas of high importance (with big international repercussions), not only in fundamental terms, but also in terms of technological application potential.



Career opportunities

Ensure specialists training with strong capabilities to promote innovation and technological progress in the area of physics. This doctoral program gives career opportunities at university teaching careers and / or research, as well as top places in technical development companies, namely in the above mentioned sub-areas (indicated in the objectives). Among the capabilities with which candidates are provided these include critical thinking, conceptual autonomy and entrepreneurship for the creation of new businesses.


The program consists of a doctoral program with 60 ECTs and a doctoral thesis with 180 ECTs. The completion of the doctoral program entitles an Advanced Studies Diploma (DEA).


The course is unique. As initial preparation, the student may be asked to conduct courses of the 2nd Master cycle in Physics Engineering. Students can obtain 12 ECTS by attending and passing courses belonging to 3rd cycle of any other doctoral program of this University and others with which it will establish a cooperation agreement.

Stydy Plan

Tuition fee

Portuguese students:

2 750 Euros/ year 

Foreign students:

2 750 Euros/ year 


1st phase: 7th march to 22nd march

2nd phase: 1st to 30th of june

3rd phase: 23rd august to 4th september


Entrance requirements for the 2023/2024 academic year

Vacancies for 2023/2024:


Admission rules:

To enter the PhD program in Atomic and Molecular Physics, the applicant must meet the conditions set by national legislation, by UNL and NOVA FCT’s regulations, and meet at least one of following conditions:

Possess a master's degree in scientific areas of Physics, Engineering Physics or the like, or equivalent, with a final mark of fourteen values;


Curriculum vitae and professional curriculum.

Possess a master's degree in scientific areas of Physics, Engineering Physics or the like, or equivalent, with a final mark of fourteen values;

Hold an undergraduate degree and a relevant academic or scientific curriculum recognized as attesting the capacity to accomplish this cycle of studies by the Scientific Council;

Holds an academic, scientific or professional curriculum in the area of physics that is recognized by the Scientific Council of NOVA FCT, under  proposal from DF’s Scientific Committee, as attesting the capacity to accomplish this cycle of studies.

Documentation of the application process (on line):

Application form;

Qualifications certificate listing the obtained grades;

Curriculum vitae and professional.


Candidates’ selection is responsibility of the Scientific Committee by assessing the submitted documentation. Potentially eligible applicants may be called for an  interview.

The Scientific Committee of the PhD program in Physics may request a candidate the submission of additional documents when it is understood to be relevant to the assessment of the application.

Course coordinator:

Professor Maria de Fátima Raposo

Registration and Accreditation


Registration number R/A-Ef 3077/2011/AL01 on 06/07/2017


Publication date of the accreditation decision: 18/11/2022

Period of validity of the accreditation:
6 years from 31/07/2022

About the Department of Physics

The Physics Department (DF) is a graduate teaching unit and a post-graduate degree unit (1st, 2nd and 3rd study cycles) and a basic and applied research unit in the fields of Physics, Physics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. It is focused on scientific and technological development, services provision and scientific disclosure. Besides being responsible for the Integrated Masters in Physics Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, as well for the doctoral programs in the same areas in Physics  and for  the doctoral programs "NOVA Instrumentation for Health - NOVA 4H" and "Radiation Biology and Biophysics - Rabbit," the DF ensures the teaching of basic physics to all NOVA School of Science and Technology courses.

This Department started with a small existing nucleus since NOVA School of Science and Technology’s the birth, managed by Prof. Manuel Laranjeira (then Rector of NOVA), the Department of Physics was formally recognized in 1986 and maintained since then a faculty of about 30 people. Its activities in Physics and Physics Engineering were extended in 2000 to include the Biomedical Engineering.

The scientific DF activity takes place mainly in two Research Units, the LIBPhys-UNL and the CEFITEC. The research covers various areas such as nanophysics and energy, atomic and molecular physics, nuclear physics and plasma, physical interfaces, lasers and optoelectronics, sensors, cryogenics, analytical techniques applied to health and cultural heritage, medical instrumentation and medical imaging.

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