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Ultrafast spectroscopy in biophysics and chemistry

   Department of Physics

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  Dr J Bredenbeck  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Positions for PhD students are frequently available in the group of Prof. Dr. Jens Bredenbeck at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. Our group investigates molecular structure and dynamics, addressing phenomena at the intersection of chemistry, physics, and biology. For this purpose, we develop novel spectroscopic techniques, involving ultrafast multidimensional IR spectroscopy and mixed IR/Vis spectroscopies. Depending on your qualification and interests, projects in different areas are available (please inquire for the details):

A. Investigation of vibrational energy transfer and low frequency modes in proteins using non-canonical amino acids. [1,2,3]

B. Investigation of protein dynamics from femtoseconds to milliseconds using non-canonical amino acids. [4,5]

C. Development of novel spectroscopy techniques based on multidimensional IR and Vis spectroscopy [6,7]


[1] Temperature-Dependent Low-Frequency Modes in the Active Site of Bovine Carbonic Anhydrase II Probed by 2D-IR Spectroscopy; J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 12, 7777 (2021); DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c01453

[2] Through Bonds or Contacts? Mapping Protein Vibrational Energy Transfer Using Non-canonical Amino Acids; Nat. Commun. 12, 3284 (2021); DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23591-1

[3] Observation of Site-Resolved Vibrational Energy Transfer Using a Genetically Encoded Ultrafast Heater; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 58, 2899 (2019); DOI: 10.1002/anie.201812995

[4] Exploring the 2D-IR Repertoire of the -SCN Label to Study Site-Resolved Dynamics and Solvation in the Calcium Sensor Protein Calmodulin; Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 22, 5463 (2020); DOI: 10.1039/C9CP06808B

[5] Vibrational lifetime of the SCN protein label in H2O and D2O reports site-specific solvation and structure changes during PYP´s photocycle; Anal. Chem. 92, 1024 (2020); DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b03997

[6] Controlling photochemistry via isotopomers and IR pre-excitation; J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 926 (2018); DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b08723

[7] Mixed IR/VIS two-dimensional spectroscopy: chemical exchange beyond the vibrational lifetime and sub-ensemble selective photochemistry; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 2667 (2014); DOI: 10.1002/anie.201305950

We offer a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and friendly environment. Our group runs two laser labs with four amplified femtosecond laser systems which can be synchronized to cover delays from femtoseconds to milliseconds. We operate a protein laboratory with a focus on introducing non-canonical amino acids as biophysical tools into proteins and have access to excellent facilities and instrumentation for protein characterization at the lively Riedberg campus. For more information on our research, please have a look at our homepage (

You fit to our group if: You are a highly motivated researcher with an active attitude and excellent communicative and collaborative skills. You have (or be about to obtain) a degree in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, or related, are enthusiastic about experimental research, and ideally have a background in several of the following fields: ultrafast lasers, nonlinear optics, infrared spectroscopy, femtosecond spectroscopy, theoretical chemistry, programming physical chemistry, protein biophysics, molecular biology, biochemistry.

If you are interested, please sent an email to inquire for current openings, including a cover letter, your CV, and names and addresses of two referees who would write a letter of recommendation.

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Jens Bredenbeck, ([Email Address Removed]) and have a look at our home page (

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