PhD scholarship in Charting Molecular Dynamics with Ultrafast X-ray Techniques

The Molecular Movies group at DTU Physics and the Theoretical, Computational and Femtochemistry group at DTU Chemistry investigate ultrafast dynamic changes of inter- and intra-molecular structures during chemical reactions. Our main tools are time-resolved X-ray scattering, theory, and computer simulations in combination with complementary tools such as optical and X-ray spectroscopies. Using these methods, we aim to understand the details of the interplay between electronic and structural degrees of freedom, which determine the outcome of chemical reactions and, through this understanding, contribute to the development of new, functional materials for photo-catalysis, OLEDs and solar energy harvesting.


In this project, you will work with colleagues to combine the power of X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) experiments with advanced computational chemistry. The experiments address dynamics from nanoseconds down to the femtosecond time scales and will be carried out at large-scale facilities in California, Japan and Europe. You will utilize and further develop tools for analyzing time series of extremely large data sets, using theoretical methods and computer simulation techniques. The objective is to chart the trajectories of electronic and nuclear configurations in molecular systems upon excitation. In particular, we will establish a coupled nuclear-electronic (non-adiabatic) framework for describing the excited state cascade of molecular spin switches and light harvesters, explicitly on their excited state potential energy surfaces.

Responsibilities and tasks

You will become part of a highly collaborative, international research environment distributed over two DTU departments, DTU Physics and DTU Chemistry, and with partners all over the world working together towards the objective of the project.

  • You will participate in all aspects of the experiments, from the initial design to the final data analysis.
  • You will travel to international X-ray facilities for experiments a few times each year.
  • You will be working on theoretical and modelling aspects of structural dynamics on the ultrafast time scales.
  • You will be developing new software tools (Matlab) for analysis of extremely large data sets in close connection with modeling (MD, quantum chemistry and dynamics).
  • You will take part in writing scientific articles.
  • You will participate in national and international conferences, courses and schools.
  • You will contribute to the teaching at DTU.

Candidates should have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master’s degree in engineering.


You should have or obtain a master’s degree in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering or similar before the end of July 2019.

Additionally, we are looking for candidates that have
  • A high degree of commitment to research, and are independent, and self-motivating.
  • Experience with software development (Matlab), MD, quantum chemistry and dynamics, or a strong desire to acquire such skills.
  • Excellent communication skills in English.
  • Demonstrated the ability to function, collaborate and work well within groups.
  • It would be a strong advantage if you have
  • Some experience with X-ray methods
  • Some experience with photophysics or photochemistry

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.


The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professors Martin Meedom Nielsen and Klaus Braagaard Møller.


We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

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.


The employment will be a joint appointment between DTU Physics and DTU Chemistry.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
Further information

Further information may be obtained from Professor Martin Meedom Nielsen,, and Professor Klaus Braagaard Møller,

You can read more about DTU Physics at and about DTU Chemistry at

Please submit your online application no later than 11 March 2019


To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form. The following must be attached in English:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • 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)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their 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.


DTU Physics and DTU Chemistry are highly competitive research departments, currently employing more than 100 PhD students from all over the world. 

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

Deadline: 11 March 2019
Unit: DTU Physics
Read the job description and apply online

Post expires on Monday March 11th, 2019