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Ultrafast crystallography using X-ray Free Electron Lasers

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, February 17, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

A 3 year EPSRC-funded PhD studentship is offered in the group of Professor Jasper van Thor at Imperial College London in the area of ultrafast X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) and ultrafast laser science. XFEL’s are revolutionising structural biology to add the time domain to atomic resolution information, with a time resolution currently possible of ~100 femtoseconds using the pump-probe technique.

A studentship is offered that will provide training in the specialised and emerging technique of ultrafast time resolved Serial Femtosecond Crystallography at X-ray Free Electron Lasers. These are pump-probe experiments applied to the ‘Serial Femtosecond Crystallography’ method at Angstrom wavelength, available at LCLS (USA), SACLA (Japan), European XFEL (Germany) and additionally PAL-XFEL (Korea) and SwissFEL (Switzerland). In the home laboratory the research will also involve ultrafast spectroscopy of oriented single protein crystals to measure and control femtosecond reactions. In collaboration with the Jon Marangos group in the Physics Department there will be additional opportunities to join X-ray Free Electron Laser experiments to gain experience with experiments relevant to atomic, molecular and optical physics

Eligibility and how to apply

Applicants should have a BSc degree at 2:1 level or better, either in Physics or in Chemistry and a relevant Masters degree in Physical Sciences ideally in ultrafast optics or laser science. Preference will be given to applicants with proven experience in coding, including Python, and who are comfortable with data handling and computation and have experimental experience. In exceptional cases Life Science graduates will be considered, but need to demonstrate ability and experience in computing and Physical Sciences methodologies as well as have excellent Mathematics skills.

Only UK and EU nationals who meet the UK residency requirements are eligible to apply (minimum of three years of continuous residency in the UK immediately prior to the start of the PhD). Non-EU nationals are not eligible.

Initial applications should include a full CV, names, addresses and contact details of two academic referees, and a personal statement (500 words max). These should be submitted to Jasper van Thor ()

Enquiries may also be made to Jasper van Thor ()

Deadline for submission of applications is 17th February 2020

Related Subjects:
-Physical Chemistry
-Condensed matter Physics
-Laser Physics


Selected References:

van Thor JJ (2019) Advances and opportunities in ultrafast X-ray crystallography and ultrafast structural optical crystallography of nuclear and electronic protein dynamics, Structural Dynamics, Vol: 6, 050901

Hutchison CDM, van Thor JJ (2019) Optical Control, selection and analysis of population dynamics in Ultrafast protein X-ray crystallography, Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol: 377, Pages: 20170474-20170474

Sanchez-Gonzalez A, Johnson AS, Fitzpatrick A, Hutchison CDM, Fare C, Cordon-Preciado V, Dorlhiac G, Ferreira JL, Morgan RM, Marangos JP, Owada S, Nakane T, Tanaka R, Tono K, Iwata S, van Thor JJ (2017), Coincidence timing of femtosecond optical pulses in an X-ray free electron laser, Journal of Applied Physics, Vol: 122, ISSN: 0021-8979.

Hutchison CDM, Cordon-Preciado V, Morgan RML, Nakane T, Ferreira J, Dorlhiac G, Sanchez-Gonzalez A, Johnson AS, Fitzpatrick A, Fare C, Marangos JP, Yoon CH, Hunter MS, DePonte DP, Boutet S, Owada S, Tanaka R, Tono K, Iwata S, van Thor JJ (2017) X-ray Free Electron Laser Determination of Crystal Structures of Dark and Light States of a Reversibly Photoswitching Fluorescent Protein at Room Temperature. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 18(9), 1918; doi:10.3390/ijms18091918

Pande K, Hutchison CDM, Groenhof G, Aquila A, Robinson JS, Tenboer J, Basu S, Boutet S, DePonte DP, Liang M, White TA, Zatsepin NA, Yefanov O, Morozov D, Oberthuer D, Gati C, Subramanian G, James D, Zhao Y, Koralek J, Brayshaw J, Kupitz C, Conrad C, Roy-Chowdhury S, Coe JD, Metz M, Xavier PL, Grant TD, Koglin JE, Ketawala G, Fromme R, Srajer V, Henning R, Spence JCH, Ourmazd A, Schwander P, Weierstall U, Frank M, Fromme P, Barty A, Chapman HN, Moffat K, van Thor JJ, Schmidt M (2016), Femtosecond structural dynamics drives the trans/cis isomerization in photoactive yellow protein, SCIENCE, Vol: 352, Pages: 725-729

Hutchison CDM, Kaucikas M, Tenboer J, Kupitz C, Moffat K, Schmidt M, van Thor JJ (2016) Photocycle populations with femtosecond excitation of crystalline photoactive yellow protein, Chemical Physics Letters, Vol: 654, Pages: 63-71

C. Hutchison and J.J. van Thor (2016) Populations and coherence in femtosecond time resolved X-ray crystallography of the Photoactive Yellow Protein. Int Rev Phys Chem. 36, 117-143

van Thor JJ, Madsen A, (2015), A split-beam probe-pump-probe scheme for femtosecond time resolved protein X-ray crystallography, Structural Dynamics, Vol: 2, Pages: 014102-014102.

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