New Emmy Noether Group for Dr. Florian Trinter

October 10, 2023

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has selected Dr. Florian Trinter for the prestigious Emmy Noether Programme. Commencing in January 2024, Dr. Trinter will lead the Emmy Noether Group focused on "Dynamics of photoionization-induced processes in laser-prepared gas and aqueous-phase samples" (DYNAMO-PLAS) within the Molecular Physics Department at the Fritz-Haber-Institut. The project has been endowed with a budget of 2.2 million EUR.

The group aims to investigate two different projects, one on gas-phase and one on liquid-phase experiments, having in common the preparation of the different samples by laser pulses. In detail, this will cover:

  • studying X-ray-induced photoemission processes and their dynamics in laser-pre-aligned gas-phase molecules in a reaction microscope (using cold target recoil ion momentum spectroscopy, COLTRIMS),
  • observing and controlling bimolecular chemical reactivity and kinetics, involving aqueous-phase radicals (such as OH), hydrated electrons, and a range of co-reactants using the liquid-jet, picosecond-time-resolved photoemission spectroscopy technique.

To achieve this, a versatile and state-of-the-art high-average-power laser system of up to 1 MHz repetition rate, 0.2-200 picoseconds pulse-duration range, and 200-2500 nm wavelength range will be combined and synchronized with the soft-X-ray beamline P04 of the synchrotron-light facility PETRA III (DESY, Hamburg). This beamline is a unique light source offering a broad range of photon energies, 250-3000 eV, an exceptionally high photon flux of up to 1014 photons/s, a high repetition rate of 5.2 MHz and ~100 ps on target X-ray pulse durations for worldwide unique, high-data-collection-rate measurements.

For the experiments, existing and mobile COLTRIMS reaction microscope and liquid-jet photoelectron spectroscopy setups will be used. “Employing the outstanding liquid-jet setup available in the Molecular Physics Department, we were able to study liquid water and aqueous solutions in many facets, specifically characterizing their electronic structure”, explains Trinter. “The goal of my team is to now investigate processes in liquids in the time domain.”

For molecules in the gas phase, this funding will enable novel studies at the highest level of detail on molecular-frame photoelectron angular distributions of complex, pre-aligned molecules, via both inner-shell and valence orbital photoionization. The group will deduce the structure, molecular handedness, and detailed geometrical features of complex molecules by photoelectron diffraction. In the field of adiabatically aligned chiral molecules, an extremely high contrast for photoelectron circular dichroism is in reach, allowing for chiral recognition of gaseous samples towards potential applications with an unprecedented sensitivity.

For molecules in the liquid and especially aqueous phase, the new approach will enable time-domain tracking of chemical reactions (energetics and kinetics) of photoinduced species, including hydronium ions, radicals, and solvated electrons, and the associated structural reorganization of the solvation shell upon electronic excitation. The group will observe time-resolved core-level chemical shifts as well as valence electronic-structure changes upon photoexcitation/photoionization of solution-vacuum interfaces. In the case of surface-active molecules, the time-resolved exploration of photoelectron angular distributions in aqueous solutions is in reach. The spectrum of applications stretches from molecular physics, chemical physics, the physics of liquids, physical chemistry, homogeneous catalysis, environmental science, to biochemistry.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming ambitious PhD students and curious undergrads as well as passionate postdocs who are willing to work on a highly disciplinary and pioneering project within the excellent Max Planck infrastructure”, remarks the new group leader.

Dr. Florian Trinter, a native of Bad Hersfeld, Germany, pursued his physics studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. His journey into atomic and molecular physics included a BSc and MSc under the mentorship of Prof. Reinhard Dörner. Following a visiting scholar fellowship at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he embarked on his PhD in atomic and molecular physics at Goethe-Universität, graduating with summa cum laude honors in 2017. Dr. Trinter's career subsequently led him to DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) in Hamburg, where he served as a beamline scientist. He also joined Dr. Bernd Winter's group at the Molecular Physics Department at FHI during his postdoctoral research. Dr. Trinter's extensive academic journey includes research in COLTRIMS experiments, liquid-jet physical chemistry studies, and time-resolved gas-phase experiments at free-electron lasers. He received a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation from 2009 to 2011 and was honored with the prestigious Walter Greiner Prize for the Best Physics Dissertation of the Year in 2018. Since October 2018, he has been an affiliated Principal Investigator (PI) with the MaxWater initiative of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

The Emmy Noether Programme is designed to support highly qualified postdocs and junior professors during the early stages of their academic careers. It enables them to qualify for a university professorship over a six-year period by independently leading an Emmy Noether research group.

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