Helmholtz PhD Prize in the Research Field Structure of Matter for Stefan Pabst

Prize for "New Theoretical Approaches to Atomic and Molecular Dynamics triggered by Ultrashort Light Pulses on the Atto-to Picosecond Time Scale"

Awardee Stefan Pabst

Stefan Pabst is one of the winners of the first Helmholtz PhD Prize. The Helmholtz Association is honouring the CFEL researcher together with five other young scientists who are active in one of the Helmholtz research fields. The Helmholtz PhD Prize, which is endowed with 5000 Euro and awarded for first time this year, was created to support talented young scientists early on and encourage doctoral students to pursue a career in science.

In his award-winning PhD thesis on “New Theoretical Approaches to Atomic and Molecular Dynamics triggered by Ultrashort Light Pulses on the Atto-to Picosecond Time Scale”, Stefan Pabst worked on two topics related to the research with free-electron lasers. He calculated the feasibility of aligning an ensemble of molecules by means of a laser pulse in order to subsequently image it using an X-ray laser. Experiments of this kind would make it possible to observe chemical reactions on their ultrafast time scale and would be an important step towards the imaging of single molecules.

For his PhD thesis, Pabst also worked on light-induced correlation dynamics in atoms that are excited and observed using pulses such as those generated by FLASH. In cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, he effected theoretical considerations on how to manipulate the motion of electrons in atoms, which occurs on the attosecond time scale.

From now on, the Helmholtz PhD Prize will be awarded annually in the six Helmholtz research fields. In addition to the prize money, it will include funding of up to 2000 Euro per month for a six-month research visit abroad at an international research institution.