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2D-IR Spectroscopy
Photo: Illustration: H. Müller-Werkmeister
Illustration of 2D-IR Spectroscopy.

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Ultrafast Structural Dynamics - Watching Molecules in Action

The group of Henrike Müller-Werkmeister is working on ultrafast structural dynamics in chemical and biochemical systems. Our research aims to "film molecules in action".

We focus on timescales starting in the femtosecond regime and picosecond regime, with occasional experiments up to seconds and longer. Experimentally, we mainly use spectroscopic approaches, in particular 2D-IR spectroscopy, which is inherently structure-sensitive. In addition to 2D-IR spectroscopy, we are involved into other structural dynamics experiments, primarily utilizing X-rays as structural probes in time-resolved crystallography and electron density experiments.

Our interest focuses on the fundamentals of reaction dynamics (i.e. photochemistry, a very useful tool for time-resolved crystallography etc.), vibrational energy transfer, spin-crossover dynamics and structural rearrangements like bond-breaking events and how these fast processes connect to phenomena on longer timescales, with particular emphasis on protein dynamics, allostery and structure function correlation. All of our scientific questions are driven by the curiosity to understand the physicochemical basis of biological processes using advanced experimental tools.

Our main technique is 2D-IR spectroscopy (in the lab in Golm) and we use and advance time-resolved crystallography methods at advanced light sources (mainly beamtimes at Petra III/DESY, European XFEL and ELI).

We would love you to join us in this adventurous research at the intersection of physics, chemistry and biochemistry. 

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Current openings (06/2023)

PhD (3y funded) in Biophysical Chemistry: Stuctural Dynamics Studies of Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation and Model Systems of Protein Condensates, Starting date 01.09.2023: The project is linked to our activities within the CMWS - Centre for Molecular Water Science (in collaboration with DESY Hamburg). Please contact Rike for further details.  A good understanding of spectroscopy and experience with biochemical samples, ideally with sample preparation including protein expression and purification is required.

PhD (3y funded) in Physical Chemistry: Energy Transport in COF systems used for heterogenous catalysis, starting date latest 01.12.2024: The project is linked to our activities within the  Cluster of Excellence "Unifying Systems in Catalysis". Please contact Rike for further details.