PhD student (m/f/d)

Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI), Berlin

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-driven short-pulse light sources in a broad spectral range in combination with methods of nonlinear spectroscopy.

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

The Max-Born-Institute invites applications for the position of

PhD student (m/f/d)

in ultrafast electron diffraction imaging of gas-phase molecular dynamics and condensed matter physics.

Job profile:

We will develop a kilo-electron-volt ultrafast electron diffraction (keV-UED) set-up that will image ultrafast chemical reactions and phase transitions in gas-phase molecules and condensed matter. A state-of-the-art 100-kHz mid-infrared optical parametric chirped pulse amplified laser system will be employed to (i) generate optical pump pulses spanning the deep-ultraviolet to the far-infrared electromagnetic spectrum to photo-excite our target sample and (ii) to simultaneously drive the keV-UED set-up to probe the photoexcited sample by electron diffraction. Time-resolved optical-pump UED-probe measurements will be performed to record dynamical movies of photo-induced chemical reactions and phase transitions by capturing a series of electron diffraction patterns at various pump-probe temporal delays. In particular, sub-100-fs 100-keV multi-electron pulses will be generated that will be subsequently utilized to time-resolve the coupled electron-nuclear dynamics in gas-phase chemical reactions and the coupled electron-lattice dynamics in light-induced charge density waves and magnetization in condensed matter samples. The successful candidate will participate in the installation of the optical-pump keV-UED-probe set-up and will be responsible for performing time-resolved pump-probe measurements. Moreover, the candidate will develop data analysis software to analyze the electron diffraction patterns to retrieve the molecular (lattice) structure of gas-phase molecules (condensed matter samples). The PhD student will perform measurements at MBI with various opportunities to develop collaborations both internally across the three divisions at MBI and externally at various internationally-recognized academic and commercial partners.


We are seeking an outstanding and highly motivated candidate holding a Diploma or Master’s degree in physics or physical chemistry by the date of recruitment. Candidates should have a strong background in at least one of the following fields: ultrafast electron diffraction, ultrashort lasers, non-linear optics, molecular dynamics, ultrafast condensed matter physics. Very good verbal and written communications skills in English are required.


The researcher position is available immediately and initially limited to 3 years. The payment is according to the German TVöD Bund salary scheme for scientists in public research institutions (75%).

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 family-friendly by the "family audit".

Please use the button "Apply online" and upload your application with a CV, letter of interest in research, two letters of reference and a certificate of the Diploma/Master degree electronically via the MBI online recruiting platform at https://mbi-berlin.de/de/karriere. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2021.

For further information and inquires please contact Dr. Kasra Amini at kasra.m.amini(at)gmail.com.