PhD student to investigate warm dense matter at ultrashort timescales

Website EuropeanXFEL European XFEL

European XFEL is an international non-profit company located in the Hamburg area in Germany. It operates a 3.4 km-long X-ray laser, which produces X-rays of unique quality for studies in physics, chemistry, the life sciences, materials research and other disciplines. The diverse scientific facilities at European XFEL enable scientists from across the globe to carry out a wide range of experimental techniques.

Intense XFEL pulses can trigger strong excitations in the electronic subsystems of condensed matter on femtosecond (fs) or even sub-fs timescales. This can bring solid targets into the warm dense matter (WDM) state, a state at the frontier between a plasma and a condensed phase that is key to astrophysics, planetary science and inertial confinement fusion research. This project aims at both creating and characterizing warm dense matter with two XFEL pulses in a pump-probe fashion, via soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) with fs to sub-fs resolution.

The position

  • Contribute to the development and commissioning of a XAS self-referencing scheme to allow for highly intense, broadband and ultrashort XFEL pulses in two-color mode
  • Perform transient XAS experiments on warm dense aluminum and copper to study the role of non-thermal electrons and ionization potential depression on ionization dynamics, as well as to assess the validity of XAS as a temperature diagnostics at ultrahigh intensities
  • Develop tools for data analysis and modelling of the expected results


  • Master degree or equivalent in physics, chemistry, engineering physics or in a related discipline
  • Good written and oral English communication skills
  • Knowledge of plasma physics and spectroscopy is considered an asset
  • Programming skills using Python is considered an asset

For additional information, please contact Laurent Mercadier ( .

Working place will be Schenefeld in the Hamburg metropolitan area. General information on working in Germany, the Hamburg area and the European XFEL can be found under

Our offer

PhD positions are fully funded for a duration of three years. The salary amounts to 75% of pay group 13 for civil servants in Germany (TVöD Bund).

Become part of a vibrant international and multi-cultural team of scientists, engineers, technical and administrative staff. Be involved in cutting edge scientific and technical progress and participate in our international networks. Experience our atmosphere of tolerance and respect.
Salary and benefits are similar to those of public service organizations in Germany, this includes for example:
– family friendly working environment (e.g. additional childcare days)
– flexible working times and option for work from home depending on tasks
– 30 days of vacation, 24th and 31st of December are free as a courtesy of the employer
– extensive relocation benefits
– generous company pension scheme (6,45% of monthly salary)
– monthly social events and subsidized company restaurant
– partially financed job-tickets for public transportation
– extensive training opportunities incl. subsidized English and German language classes

Among our international staff, our company language is English.

Reference number



This appointment is limited to 3 years.


13 October 2023


Please apply online and provide a motivation letter and your CV in English as well as reference letters in one single pdf-file.
The European XFEL GmbH is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer and we promote and support diverse and heterogenous teams. Applicants with disabilities will be given preference over other equally qualified applicants.

To apply for this job please visit