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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.

Frederik Doktor Simonsen
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.

Experimental techniques, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and temperature programmed desorption (TPD), where cooled deuterium atoms interact with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).