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Frederik Doktor Simonsen

I am a postdoctoral fellow at InterCat working with experimental studies of interstellar reactions on nanoscaled surfaces at Aarhus University.

As a PhD student I worked in the surface dynamics laboratory (SDL), where many hours have been spent working on surface sensitive experimental setups. Happily, I might add!

I started my bachelor studies at Aarhus University (AU) in 2012, transitioned into a master’s degree in 2015, also at AU, and will now finish my PhD studies here in 2020. Hence, I hopefully know my way around the physics department here at AU. 

Throughout my studies I have attended several conferences, summer schools and extended studies abroad, all of which I have both highly enjoyed and learned from greatly. I have experience with both temperature programmed desorption (TPD) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) from working at SDL. With the techniques I have focused on the hydrogen addition to (superhydrogenation of) polycyclic aromatic molecules (PAHs). From 3 months spent abroad in Bochum, I have gained further insight into low temperature STM and from more than a month’s visit to the free-electron lasers of infrared experiments (FELIX) beam line in Nijmegen I have gained experience in action gas phase spectroscopy and molecular ions, i.e., PAHs.

Postdoctoral fellow


1520-326 Ny Munkegade 120

DK-8000 Aarhus C 

My research

Within the InterCat network I hope to expand on the experimental techniques I use to study different astrophysically relevant molecules, such as PAHs. InterCat sets out to expand upon the hypothesis that: “interstellar nanoscale dust grains act as catalysts for the formation of complex molecules …” so my studies revolve around graphitic surfaces and PAHs as interstellar catalysts. I utilize TPD and STM (among other techniques) to study the surface – gas phase, heterogeneous catalytic activity of for example on surface PAH interaction with hydrogen or larger atoms, with the perspective of studying small molecule formation in the interstellar medium.