Two fully funded PhD positions on "Laser-induced dynamic chirality in molecules and fundamental symmetry aspects" are available in the Controlled Molecule Imaging group at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg (https://www.controlled-molecule-imaging.org). The main goal of the project is to set up an optical centrifuge to create, through extreme rotational excitation, dynamically chiral molecular samples from statically achiral molecules, see Owens, Yachmenev, Küpper, arXiv:1802.07803 [physics]. Given the importance of chirality to our understanding of molecular and material behavior, the ability to create chirality in achiral systems is of great fundamental and practical interest.
We will perform a joint experimental and theoretical investigation. The theory student will extend our predictions of dynamically induced chirality to experimentally well-tractable molecules, will investigate the implications of molecular properties on the applicability of the approach, and predict advanced mechanisms to create chiral samples from achiral molecules as well as observables of the effect, see, e.g., Owens, Yachmenev, Küpper, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 9, 4206 (2018), arXiv:1807.04016 [physics]. The experiment student will set up an optical centrifuge and actually generate dynamically chiral molecules in the laboratory. These samples will be carefully characterized using our in-house table-top laser systems as well as x-ray facilities, such as Petra III, FLASH, or the European XFEL. Jointly, both students will disentangle the implications of true and false chirality as a fundamental aspect of nature.
The Controlled Molecule Imaging group at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY and Universität Hamburg performs novel experiments on the control and imaging of gas-phase molecules and their ultrafast dynamics with applications from fundamental physics to chemistry and structural biology. We develop new experimental approaches to cool and control complex molecules, such as spatial separation of individual molecular species, alignment and orientation of molecules in space, and the creation of well-defined molecular wavepackets. We image molecular structures and dynamics — recording movies of molecules at work — using ion and electron imaging as well as coherent diffractive imaging techniques with x-rays and electrons. This work is accompanied by sophisticated data analysis, computational modeling, and ab initio theory developments.
Applications are to be directed to Andrey Yachmenev <[log in to unmask]>, Sebastian Trippel <[log in to unmask]>, or Jochen Küpper <[log in to unmask]>.
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