Research Associate for the Project “Cluster of Excellence ‚CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter‘- Laser-induced electron diffraction of thermal-energy ultrafast (bio)chemical dynamics” § 28 Subsection 3 HmbHG

We are seeking a new graduate student to become a part of our team, as we further explore the dynamics of thermally-excited gas-phase molecular systems with atomic resolution using Laser Induced Electron Diffraction (LIED).

In the CFEL-CMI group we develop novel approaches to cool and control molecules and nanoparticles, to spatially separate individual species, to align and orient them in space, to create well-defined quantum-mechanical wavepackets and novel states of molecular matter. We record movies of “molecules at work” using novel ion, electron, and x-ray imaging techniques with atomic spatial and ultrafast temporal resolution.

These experiments are accompanied by sophisticated data analysis, computational modelling, and ab initio theory developments and machine learning applications.

Recently, we have taken first steps in to investigating the thermal-energy dynamics of (bio)molecular species in the gas-phase as initiated with ultrashort mid-infrared laser pulses - see: Robinson & Küpper, PCCP (2023); We now are exploring the applicability of laser-induced electron diffraction (LIED) to image these thermally-induced processes and disentangle the dynamic atomic nature of chemistry. This work builds on our past LIED experience, where we unraveled the influence of the molecular frame onto the strong-field-ionization and rescattering process underlying LIED and have developed theoretical approaches to describe these processes - see Karamatskos, J. Chem. Phys. 150, 244301 (2019); Furthermore, we have demonstrated unprecedented degrees of field-free alignment of linear and asymmetric top molecules. In this continuation of the project we will exploit our experimental and theoretical advances for the investigation of thermal-energy chemical dynamics in chemical model systems and the imaging of the dynamical interactions between molecular building blocks of life and water, the matrix of life.

For further information, please contact Dr. Matthew Robinson or Prof. Dr. Jochen Küpper or consult our website at

Your responsibilities

Duties include academic services in the project named above. Research associates may also pursue independent research and further academic qualifications.

Duties include:

  • performing experiments in the lab
  • collecting, analysing and interpreting the results
  • collaborating with theoreticians
  • writing academic articles
  • presenting work internally and at conferences

Work will primarily be based at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Germany, and its surrounding laboratories. This will provide ample opportunity to for the applicant to be exposed to a wide range of scientific activities and become a part of a larger scientific community.

Your profile

A university degree in a relevant field.

We are looking for a highly-motivated individual with a strong background in experimental physics or gas-phase physical chemistry as well as in quantum mechanics. A knowledge of and desire to work with molecular beams, ion or electron imaging, ultrafast lasers and optics as well as capabilities for programming are strongly desired and need to be present or acquired within the first part of the project. A university degree in a relevant field such as physics or chemistry is recommended. Strong motivation for independent research work within the team and collaborations are assumed.

We offer

Reliable remuneration based on wage agreements
Continuing education opportunities
University pensions
Attractive location
Flexible working hours
Work-life balance opportunities
Health management

Educational leave

30 days of vacation per annum

Universität Hamburg—University of Excellence is one of the strongest research educational institutions in Germany. Our work in research, teaching, educational and knowledge exchange activities is fostering the next generation of responsible global citizens ready to tackle the global challenges facing us. Our guiding principle “Innovating and Cooperating for a Sustainable Future” drives collaboration with academic and nonacademic partner institutions in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region and around the world. We would like to invite you to be part of our community to work with us in creating sustainable and digital change for a dynamic and pluralist society.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg promotes equal opportunity. As women are currently underrepresented in this job category at Universität Hamburg according to the evaluation conducted under the Hamburg act on gender equality (Hamburgisches Gleichstellungsgesetz, HambGleiG), we encourage women to apply for this position. Equally qualified and suitable female applicants will receive preference.

Severely disabled and disabled applicants with the same status will receive preference over equally qualified non-disabled applicants.

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