Current challenges with sustainable energy sources and energy media in many cases require increased understanding of basic chemical process. To gain further insight the Study of the carrier transport in MAterials by time-Resolved specTroscopy with ultrashort soft X-ray light will be performed in a European project (SMART-X). A close collaboration between academic and industrial partners will advance the state of the art of experimental and theoretical tools to investigate ultra-fast photo-chemical processes.

Recent and on-going development of light sources with short X-ray pulses allows for studies of ultrafast processes in molecules and materials. Thereby, processes underlying to light harvesting in photosynthesis and photocurrents in photovoltaic materials can be investigated in unprecedented detail. However, for a deeper mechanistic insight and for the development of refined experiments, theoretical modelling is required.

The groups at Fysikum will provide theory support by means of high-level ab-initio calculations and simulation of time-resolved X-ray spectra. New simulation techniques tailored to the soft X-ray regime of molecules in solution will be developed to monitor the coupled electronic and nuclear motion that is responsible for charge transfer processes in donor-acceptor molecular systems. The expertise at Fysikum on theoretical modelling of chemical and spectroscopic processes will be employed for the interpretation of experimental data and for the design of new experiments that investigate of ultra-fast photo-chemical processes. The applications range from simple model systems in gas phase and solution to light-harvesting materials, which is relevant for solar energy conversion.

The grant is part of the Horizon 2020 program and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks of the European Commission. Besides Fysikum, 19 other academic institutions and industry partners from France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US will be involved in the project. The network will recruit 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) to work towards the common scientific goal and train them in a multidisciplinary and intersectoral network. The ESRs will receive training in start-of-the-art methods and also acquire complementary skills. Fysikum will contribute to the training within the network by hosting a network symposium and a gender balance seminar.