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Stored and Cooled Ions Division
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PhD student positions

PhD thesis: Electron-Ion Astrochemistry in the Cryogenic Storage Ring

Atomic and molecular quantum dynamics group - CSR

Our team is looking for PhD students for various projects at the Cryogenic Storage Ring (CSR). The here proposed position includes measurements on the electron-ion recombination under astrophysically relevant conditions.

The cryogenic Storage Ring CSR
The cryogenic Storage Ring CSR

You can learn about:

  • Laboratory astrochemistry
  • Quantum dynamics of multielectron molecular systems
  • A pioneering, worldwide-unique research facility
  • State of the art counting and imaging detectors
  • Production of ultracold electron beams
  • Analysis of large datasets, datamining
  • Storage ring and accelerator physics
  • Cryogenic and vacuum technology
  • Labview/ROOT/python programming

Your tasks:

  • Planning and running the electron-ion recombination measurements at CSR, within the CSR team
  • Maintenance and further developments of the electron beam device
  • Data analysis
  • Publication of the results, presentation in conferences
  • Staying interested in and supporting other CSR projects

You can enjoy:

  • Working in an international, gender-balanced team
  • Support from electronics and precision mechanics workshops and in-house engineering design office
  • Nature-surrounded working place with a good bus connection

Interested? We will be happy to hear from you!
More PhD positions are available at CSR, do not hesitate to ask!

Physics background:

Part of the electron cooler – the electron beam device at CSR
Part of the electron cooler – the electron beam device at CSR

Molecules are a key component of the interstellar medium, proto-planetary disks, planetary atmospheres, etc. Gas phase molecular reactions define the chemical composition and evolution of these environments. One of the most important reactions is the recombination of molecular ions with electrons at low (down to 10 K) temperatures leading to a dissociation of the molecule. Laboratory astrophysics can study this process and determine its rate and dissociation branching ratios, both being critical inputs for astrochemical models. Furthermore, the splitting of molecules by recombination with electrons at low temperature is a resonant quantum collision. Experimental input is essential for understanding the still puzzling properties regarding its mechanisms.

The Cryogenic Storage Ring (CSR) at the MPIK is a unique facility capable of performing such studies at astrophysically relevant conditions. The measurements include a setup for merging an electron beam with a stored molecular ion beam at relative velocities reaching down to ~10 K equivalent. Moreover, the whole experimental chamber is cooled down to <10 K in order to cool the stored ions radiatively to their rovibrational ground state. With particle detectors, the recombination products are imaged on one reaction at a time. From the data, the rate and the products of this process is determined. Already the first recombination measurements performed in 2018 (Novotny et al., Science 2019 external Link) have shown that electron-ion recombination at cryogenic conditions can proceed at dramatically different rates (also higher) compared to the room-temperature conditions in previous experiments. Studies on a number of astrophysically relevant molecular ions followed since then.



Dr. Oldřich Novotný ()
PD Dr. Holger Kreckel external Link ()
Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum ()

PhD studies:

Graduate School of Fundamental Physics external Link, University of Heidelberg
Graduate studies at the Department of Physics external Link, University of Heidelberg
International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) external Link for Quantum Dynamics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology

Selected CSR publications:

Kálosi, Á. et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 128, 183402 (2022) external Link
Grieser, M. et al., Rev. Sci. Instr. 93, 063302 (2022) external Link
Müll, D. et al., Phys. Rev. A 104, 032811 (2021) external Link
Novotný, O. et al., Science, 365, 676 (2019) external Link
Kreckel, H. et al., Philos. Trans. Royal Soc. A 377, 0412 (2019) external Link
Meyer, C. et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 023202 (2017) external Link
O’Connor, A. P. et al., Phys. Rev. Lett 116, 113002 (2016) external Link
Von Hahn, R. et al., Rev. Sci. Instr. 87, 063115 (2016) external Link