School of Physics and Astronomy

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Dr Arend G Dijkstra

Theoretical Physics Group

Contact details

Room: Chemistry 2.89b
Tel: +44 (0)113 3439407
Email: A.G.Dijkstra @


Photoactive molecular complexes
Open quantum system approach to ultrafast dynamics
Optical spectroscopy and ultrafast diffraction

Research interests

My research interests are focused on understanding ultrafast electronic and nuclear dynamics in large molecular complexes after photoexcitation. In these systems, the light can be essential for the function, such as in natural or artificial photosynthesis, or detrimental, as in UV light absorped by DNA. Light can also be used as a probe or to trigger desired behaviour, for example in a photo switch.

Because we are interested in the theoretical description of large systems, an exact quantum approach is often not possible. Therefore, we divide the system into a part that is described exactly, and a part that is treated as a bath. The challenge is to properly model the effects of decoherence and dephasing on the quantum dynamics. We aim to connect directly to experimental data obtained from optical spectroscopy and ultrafast X-ray and electron diffraction. We have also explored applications of our approach to the theory of non-Markovian quantum dynamics.