Post Doctoral Research Associate (m/f/d) - Ref. 02-2020

Scientist Heidelberg
Astronomy & Astrophysics Particle, Plasma and Quantum Physics

Job Code: 02-2020

Job Offer from January 30, 2020

The Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics ( is one of 86 research institutes of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science e.V. (MPG). The MPG is an independent, non-profit research organization, which seeks to promote basic research in the service of the general public.

We offer a position as a Post Doctoral Research Associate (m/f/d) in Ultrafast Dynamics in Liquid Crystals.

Despite the tremendous developments in LC based technology and though sub-picosecond liquid crystal (LC) dynamics has been observed, its understanding is still of a fragmentary nature. The physics of ultrafast LCs dynamics, involving possible coupling between electron and molecular degrees of freedom, in fact is largely unexplored.
Changes of LC refractive index at the femtosecond time scale has been reported by inducing an ultrafast electronic Kerr response [1]. Moreover, such an electronic excitation relaxed via coherent molecular vibrations modulating the LCs birefringence at a frequency of few THz.
The research proposed here will mainly focus on the understanding of such low-frequency phenomena across LCs phase transition from isotropic (liquid) to liquid crystal and finally solid phase. In particular, this investigation will allow to define the degree of localization in collective molecular dynamics excited with phase-stable THz pulses, answering questions such as:

  • What is the nature of the collective molecular dynamics in LCs vs. single-molecular dynamics?
  • Can resonant collective dynamics transiently impact on LCs electronic (charge and energy transfer) and/or structural properties (phase transition)? 
  • Does chirality have any impact on these processes? 

The candidate will have to build a pump probe set-up build a set-up to perform two-color pump-probe experiments where the pump will be mostly THz radiation while the probe wavelength will be chosen to be sensitive to specific dynamics. The THz source will be generated based on a OPA pumped organic crystal driven by ~35 fs amplified system (~7 mJ). At the same time the candidate will be introduced to different sample preparation techniques and optical characterization methods.


We are seeking an outstanding and highly motivated candidate with a master degree and PhD in physics with an established experience in THz generation and characterization. Moreover, written and oral communication skills in English are required.

Starting date will be 01.08.2020.
The term of the positions is initially limited for 3 years.
The salary will be paid according to the collective agreement for civil service employees in Germany (TVöD). The Max-Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. The Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics is a family-friendly employer.

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Laura Cattaneo:
Applications, including a Statement of Interest, CV, list of grades (Bachelor and Master), publication lists and contact information of at least two referees should be uploaded online with reference # 02-2020.

Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics
Saupfercheckweg 1
69117 Heidelberg

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