The NOMAD Laboratory

Novel Materials Discovery at the FHI of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
and IRIS-Adlershof of the Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin

Open positions for students and postdocs

Every year several people are leaving the department and several new people are joining.

Open positions are often not announced. Anyone interested in theoretical condensed matter physics, materials science, chemical physics, or physical chemistry who likes to join the group should send an application to Matthias Scheffler.

The main fields studied in the Theory Department are described under Research Activities, but it should be noted that this does not provide a complete description, and new ideas are always welcome.

  •  Currently, we are also looking for postdocs and PhD-students for the NOMAD Center of Excellence. Find more here.
  • Also, excellent students can apply to the newly funded Max Planck Graduate Center for Quantum Materials. For more information, please look here.

The NOMAD Laboratory of the Fritz-Haber-Institut at the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft offers

Job Opportunities in Electronic Structure Theory for research students (Diploma or Ph.D. degree), postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scientists.

Why is electronic structure theory a hot research area?

Electronic structure theory, i.e., the theoretical prediction of materials properties from fundamental quantum mechanics without recouhttps://th.fhi.mpg.de/groups/aiadtm/index.phprse to empirical parameters, has advanced significantly in recent years, serving basic science as well as applied research in numerous industries. The applicability of current methods and their spin-offs covers an extraordinarily wide range of fields and interdisciplinary research topics that embrace Condensed Matter Physics, Materials Science, Computer Science, Chemistry, and Biology. The significance of modern electronic structure theory has also been recognized by the award of The 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "to Walter Kohn for his development of the density-functional theory and to John Pople for his development of computational methods in quantum chemistry".

Why will industry need these methods?

Due to its accurate and reliable predictions of materials properties, electronic structure theory now increasingly replaces more empirical methods in Industrial Research and Development. As the rapid improvement of modern methods together with the exponential increase in computing power allows ever more complex simulations to be performed, this trend is certain to continue for at least another decade, creating numerous Job Opportunities for qualified physicists, particularly in the semiconductor, oil, chemical, and pharmacy sectors. Some examples illustrating the range of industrial problems that can be addressed using electronic structure theory are:

  • Chemical reactivity of catalysts in environmental technology
  • Growth of self-organized nanoscale magnetic islands for hard disks with high storage density
  • Lubricants and oil replacements for combustion engines
  • Crystal growth for improved and novel device fabrication
  • Photochemistry
  • Enhancement of active agents in drugs

In these, and many other fields, computer simulations have aided, stimulated, and sometimes replaced experimental investigations, leading to accelerated product development.

Why does it provide an ideal qualification for a future career in universities and research laboratories as well as industry?

Despite the spread of electronic structure theory, many fundamental problems still continue to challenge scientists in universities and research laboratories. As a research center for surface and interface physics, the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft plays a special role in this field, both in terms of methodological development and materials investigation. With many visiting scientists of international reputation, powerful equipment that includes, e.g., a IBM SP2 supercomputer, and close collaboration with leading experimental groups both in-house and elsewhere, the Theory Department offers a stimulating environment and a wide range of research activities, see, e.g., recent publications. Basic research focuses, among other things, on the following topics: Improved description of exchange and correlation in realistic materials Dynamic self-energy effects in interacting electron systems Calculation of excited states, including band structures Non-adiabatic effects (dynamics of electron-lattice coupling) Code development, user interfaces, visualization, and extension of our electronic structure methods (Software: fhiaims, FP-LAPW, StoBe). Depending on the physical objectives, suitable methods such as density-functional theory, many-body perturbation theory or Monte Carlo techniques are employed. Special attention is placed on methods that combine ab initio electronic structure theory (i.e., density-functional theory for the many-electron system) with methods of thermodynamics and statistics. The goal is to bridge the time and length scales from the world of the electrons (1 nanometer, 1 femtosecond) to macroscopic proportions (1 millimeter, 1 second). 

If you are interested to join our group as a research student, a postdoctoral researcher, or a visiting scientist, please contact us for further information:

Heat and Charge Transport
Christian Carbogno
Max Planck Fellow Group
Claudia Draxl
Ab initio and Artificial Intelligence methods for heterogeneous catalysis
Lucas Foppa
Big-Data analytics for Materials Science
Luca M. Ghiringhelli
Artificial Intelligence-Assisted Discovery of Thermoelectric Materials 
Thomas Purcell
Max Planck Partner Group for Advanced Electronic-Structure Methods
Xinguo Ren
Simulations from ab Initio Approaches: Structure and Dynamics from Quantum Mechanics 
Mariana Rossi

or any other member of the Research Group. Please also feel free to contact Matthias Scheffler for information on any of the above topics or alternative projects, such as magnetism, interfaces, neural networks, polymers, biology, and more. Please, note that applicants must provide a TOEFL and GRE (General and Physics) Test.

Stipends and Scholarships are often available for highly qualified candidates. Diploma and Ph.D. programs are offered in conjunction with the Free University or the Technical University of Berlin, but students with other affiliations of their own are equally welcome. Through our collaborations, for example the Psi-k Network, we offer an international perspective, and the presentation of results at international conferences is actively encouraged. The Theory Department itself organizes regular workshops on electronic structure theory for young researchers.