Offer 20 out of 82 from 19/09/23, 12:06


Freie Universität Berlin - Fachbereich Physik - Institut für Experimentalphysik, Arbeitsgruppe Horch

As part of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Unifying Systems in Catalysis’ (UniSysCat), the Horch research group ‘Ultrafast Dynamics in Catalysis’ aims to understand complex catalytic systems and superordinate reaction networks by using an integrated approach of advanced spectroscopic and theoretical methods. In addition, we are generally interested in structural and dynamical properties of complex molecules as well as intramolecular and intermolecular interactions. In this respect, our focus lies on (biological and bioinspired) transition metal catalysts (e.g. metalloenzymes) that we characterize by ultrafast, multidimensional, and computational spectroscopy in order to understand relations between structure, function, and dynamics. Recently, we are also interested in elucidating the special properties of fluorine- mediated interactions. Besides their general chemical relevance, these interactions could play a unique role in engineered metalloenzymes or bio-synthetic hybrid catalysts. This aspect will be addressed within the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1349 ‘Fluorine- Specific Interactions’.

More details about the Horch research group, the Cluster of Excellence UniSysCat, and the CRC 1349 can be found here:

Research assistant (Praedoc) (m/f/d)

with 67 % part-time job
limited to 31.12.2026
Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L FU
reference code: Horch-SFB1349-A9N-2023

Working field:

We offer a PhD position in the project

‘Ultrafast Nonlinear Infrared Spectroscopy for the Characterization of Fluorine-Specific Interactions: Structure, Dynamics, and Catalytic Determinants of H∙∙∙F Networks at Fluorido Complexes and Metallopeptides.’

Using ultrafast and nonlinear infrared spectroscopy, structural and dynamical aspects of fluorine-specific interactions will be elucidated and quantified. This experimental approach will be complemented by quantum mechanical calculations that provide an understanding of the vibrational spectroscopic observables and associated molecular properties. This combined strategy promises insights into various aspects including bond strengths and bond lengths as well as the character of fluorine-specific interactions and their time evolution. The focus is on interactions within the coordination sphere of catalytic metal sites, in particular hydrogen bonds involving fluorine-containing reactants or fluorinated ligand systems. To obtain a thorough understanding of these interactions and their functional significance, three model systems of increasing complexity will be investigated. (I) Basic aspects of the structure and dynamics of fluorine-mediated hydrogen bonds will be elucidated by investigating interactions between hydrogen fluoride and small molecules like triethylamine or pyridine. (II) Based on the gained insight as well as the newly established experimental and theoretical strategies, the characteristics of hydrogen bonds in the coordination sphere of metal complexes and their influence on hydrofluorination reactions will be subsequently explored. (III) Finally, complex hydrogen bond networks and further fluorine-specific interactions in metal complexes of peptides containing fluorinated amino acids will be investigated. In total, these studies will yield detailed insights into the characteristics of fluorine-specific interactions in metal catalysts and reveal the potential of fluorine-functionalized metalloenzymes.

The PhD project is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1349 ‘Fluorine-Specific Interactions’ ( ), in which 22 working groups are conducting research in the field of fluorine chemistry.

Field of Work:

  • Development, adjustment, and application of ultrafast nonlinear infrared spectroscopic experiments (2D-IR and IR-IR pump-probe)
  • Execution of such experiments at international research facilities
  • Analysis and interpretation of spectroscopic data
  • Interdisciplinary cooperation with other members of the CRC 1349
  • Manipulation and handling of delicate (biological) samples supplied by collaboration partners
  • Calculation of infrared spectroscopic observables by quantum chemical methods (beyond the harmonic limit)
  • Writing of scientific articles for publication in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Presentation of research results at international scientific conferences


Master’s degree (or equivalent) in the field of physics, physical chemistry, biophysics or similar

Expertise and experience in the following areas is desirable, but knowledge in all them of them is not mandatory. Applications from candidates that are willing to learn about the listed aspects are welcome.

  • Excellent university degree
  • Experience with infrared spectroscopy or vibrational spectroscopy in general
  • Experience with ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy and data analysis
  • Experience with (pulsed) laser sources and (nonlinear) optics
  • Experience with quantum chemical calculations
  • Experience with the handling of biological and/or oxygen-sensitive samples
  • Knowledge in biological, inorganic, and/or fluorine chemistry
  • Willingness to work with hydrogen-fluoride containing samples
  • Programming skills, preferably in Python
  • Ability to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Creativity, enthusiasm, and a genuine interest in the advertised project
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written)

How to apply:

For further information, please contact Mr. Dr. Marius Horch ( / +49 30 838 69505).

Applications should be sent by e-mail, together with significant documents, indicating the reference code, in PDF format (preferably as one document) no later than October 2nd, 2023 to Mr. Dr. Marius Horch: or postal to

Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Physik
Institut für Experimentalphysik Arbeitsgruppe Horch
Mr. Dr. Marius Horch Arnimallee 14
14195 Berlin (Dahlem)

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Freie Universität Berlin is an equal opportunity employer.