PhD student (m/f/d)

December 2, 2021
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Job Overview

  • Date Posted
    December 2, 2021
  • Expiration date
  • Experience
  • Gender
  • Qualification
    B. Sc.
  • Section

Job Description


The Max-Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) conducts basic research in the field of nonlinear optics and ultrafast dynamics arising from the interaction of light with matter and pursues applications that emerge from this research. It develops and uses ultrafast and ultra-intense lasers and laser-riven short-pulse light sources in a broad spectral range in combination with methods of nonlinear spectroscopy. The spectral range includes in particular XUV radiation and soft x-rays, where experiments at in-house sources are complemented with the use of accelerator driven sources such as free electron x-ray lasers.

With its research, MBI fulfils a national mission and is an integral part of the international scientific community.

 The Max-Born-Institute invites applications for the position PhD student (m/f/d)

Job profile:

In my team in division A of the Max-Born-Institute (MBI) in Berlin we investigate the evolving structure in molecular and chemical dynamics on ultrafast timescales with methods adapted from attosecond (10-18s) science. Processes on these unprecedented timescales represent one of the major new frontiers in contemporary physics.

We are offering a fully funded PhD project in physics dedicated to the time-resolved structural imaging of chemical dynamics within a project recently awarded with a Consolidator Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) (

In a chemical reaction two molecules come so close that bonds between atoms are broken and new bonds are formed. The configurations during the chemical transformation, being neither reactants nor products, are called the transition state. Efforts to depict the structural transformations during chemical reactions have thus far fallen short due to a conceptual experimental problem: The start-time dilemma. In conventional samples the reactants are distributed over a wide range of spatial configurations and even with an ultrashort laser pulse there is no external control over the precise moment when a reaction takes place. We aim to solve this dilemma by bringing together two key ingredients: First, reaction partners are held closely together, in a well-defined initial configuration, within a reaction precursor. Such a complex allows initiating the chemical reaction at a defined time with a femtosecond laser pulse. Moreover, the tunable wavelength of the laser pulse allows controlling the speed with which the two reactions partners encounter each other. Second, as a function of delay after the initiating laser pulse, the three-dimensional structure of the transition state is imaged with Coulomb Explosion Imaging. Coulomb explosion is a tool from the toolbox of Attosecond Science: Within a very short time the binding electrons are removed with a second laser pulse such that the positively charged atomic fragments repel each other. An experimental determination of the fragment momenta in coincidence allows constructing the evolving chemical structure.

We are looking for a PhD student (m/f/d), to join our team and lead the following scientific projects:

  • Perform a time-resolved Coulomb explosion study on a neutral target in a lab-based reaction microscope.
  • Participate in experiments at an X-ray Free Electron Laser user facility, within international collaborations.
  • Built a dedicated experimental setup to produce a molecular ion target.
  • Perform a first experiment on time-resolved bimolecular chemical reaction dynamics.

The position is fully funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The PhD student will be closely supervised by the project leader.


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student (m/f/d) holding a Master degree in physics or a related field. Previous experience with molecular physics, ultrafast laser technology, and ion/electron spectroscopy is a plus, but not mandatory.


The researcher position is available immediately and initially limited to 3 years. The payment is according to the German TVöD salary scheme for scientists in public research institutions.

MBI is an equal opportunity employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women. Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply. If equally qualified, severely handicapped persons are given preference.

MBI supports the reconcilability of family and working life and is certified as a family-friendly by the “family audit”.       

Please upload your application, including cover letter, curriculum vitae, certificates and description of previous professional activities electronically via the MBI online recruiting platform at

For further information and inquires please contact Dr. Jochen Mikosch, Tel.: 030 / 6392 1295, (,


LOCATION: Max-Born-Straße 2A, 12489 Berlin, Deutschland