Postdoc: Reactive scattering with electronic friction

Research / Academic

The Faculty of Science Leiden and Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a postdoc

Reactive scattering with electronic friction
The project revolves around recent work in Jörg Meyer’s group on non-adiabatic effects on reactive scattering of small molecules on metal surfaces [1-3]. Even in the weakly non-adiabatic regime, electron-hole pair excitations in the metal surface can have a pronounced effect on the dissociative chemisorption probabilities depending on how electronic friction coefficients are determined [1,2]. In this project, these insights are to be extended towards other incident conditions, i.e., mainly higher incidence energies, which requires the development and implementation of a new machine-learning model to represent the tensorial electronic friction coefficients of (diatomic) molecules. Despite of its very fundamental scientific character this work is of interest to a large industrial partner with whom we have established an extensive collaboration. It is going to be embedded in our team of theoretical and computational both chemists and physicists in the Theoretical Chemistry group, providing opportunities to learn from each other and a lot of potential for collaboration(s). Thanks to our access to considerable computational resources both in house and at the national level, computing time is not expected to be a bottle neck.

[1] N. Gerrits, J. I. Juaristi, and J. Meyer, Electronic Friction Coefficients from the Atom-in-Jellium Model for Z = 1 – 92, Phys. Rev. B 102, 155130 (2020). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.9b00523
[2] P. Spiering, K. Shakouri, J. Behler, G.-J. Kroes, and J. Meyer, Orbital-Dependent Electronic Friction Significantly Affects the Description of Reactive Scattering of N2 from Ru(0001), J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 10, 2957 (2019). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.9b00523
[3] P. Spiering and J. Meyer, Testing Electronic Friction Models: Vibrational De-Excitation in Scattering of H2 and D2 from Cu(111), J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 9, 1803 (2018). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b03182

Work and profile
The successful candidate has well-developed and programming skills in Python and at least one other “fast” programming language (in particular Fortran or C) – proven by the candidate’s PhD or other previous projects. These skills are essential for the development and implementation of a new machine-learning model to represent the tensorial electronic friction coefficients of (diatomic) molecules on metal surfaces. Ideally, the candidate also has prior knowledge about machine learning and its applications in its nowadays typical applications in computational chemistry.

Additional selection criteria:

  • background in density functional theory calculations, ideally for adsorption on metal surfaces,
  • basic understanding of molecular dynamics (MD), whereby Langevin MD would be advantageous,
  • good presentation and writing skills demonstrated by scientific track record,
  • good team-player in an international research team.

Description of organisation and terms of employment
The position starts by September 1st or earlier upon mutual agreement. We offer a position for 12 months and upon satisfactory performance to be extended for 5 more months. You will be appointed in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The salary ranges from € 3.226,- to € 5.090,- gross per month, depending on experience (pay scale 10).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

The Faculty of Science at Leiden University is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelors’ and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

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Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential. Will you become our newest colleague?

Application and information
Do you have scientific questions about this position? Please contact Jörg Meyer, Associate Professor,
For more information about the recruitment process please contact Ties Elkerbout, Management and Office Assistant,, +31 71 527 1857.

You can find more information about the faculty of Science at For more information about working at Leiden university please visit

Are you enthusiastic about this vacancy? We are looking forward to getting to know you. You can apply until August 31st using the application button below. Please note that application documents sent directly (to any of the contacts indicated above) will not be considered.


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