PhD position for the project Quantum Control of Photo-Isomerization

Thursday 24 Jun 21

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A 3-year PhD position is available at the Department of Chemistry of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) under the main supervision of Prof. Niels E. Henriksen.

The project “Quantum Control of Photo-Isomerization” funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark!Natural Sciences involves theoretical and computational studies of laser control of molecules and unimolecular reactions. The coherent quantum dynamics induced by ultrashort laser pulses can lead, e.g., to outcomes of photo-induced reactions beyond what is possible in classical “incoherent” photochemistry. The computational optimization of laser pulses will be obtained by approaches similar to experimental laser-pulse shaping, e.g., via so-called phase-only shaping.  

The project involves: (I) contributing to the development of new approaches and insights for laser-pulse optimization for dynamics in the electronic ground state as well as excited states, and (II) simulating photo-induced isomerization dynamics based on suitable theoretical model descriptions and explore the possibilities for weak-field as well as strong-field control under non-ionizing conditions.

The ultimate goal is to understand the mechanisms, possibilities and limitations of laser control and to assist in and enable relevant experimental implementations. This can ultimately lead to better selectivity and higher yields in chemical reactions including the synthesis of molecules, that cannot be created by other means.

Candidates must hold or be about to obtain a Master's degree in Physical Chemistry or Physics with excellent grades, and have good communication skills in English. We are looking for highly motivated candidates, with a strong interest in chemical physics, theoretical chemistry and computations, who can work independently and in a team. Desired qualifications include Familiarity with quantum-molecular dynamics, the theory of laser-molecule interaction, electronic-structure calculations as well as programming experience.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide

We offer
The position offers the opportunity to gain expertise in femtochemistry and the theory of laser control of molecular dynamics as well as state-of-the-art computational methods in a group with a long record of accomplishment in molecular reaction dynamics and femtochemistry. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in a vibrant Department that includes several groups in theoretical and computational chemistry.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. Information about salary: Salary paid to PhD students.

Starting date 1 September 2021 (or according to mutual agreement).

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Niels Engholm Henriksen,   

You can read more about DTU Chemistry at  

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.    

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 1 August 2021 (Danish time)Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter, maximum one page)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • List of two names and respective e-mail addresses for letters of recommendation

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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