Prof. Alexander Tkatchenko

Head of the Research Group

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Alexandre Tkatchenko is a Professor of Theoretical Chemical Physics at the University of Luxembourg. He obtained his bachelor degree in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City. In 2008−2010, he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. Between 2011 and 2016, he led an independent research group at the same institute. Tkatchenko has given more than 230 invited talks, seminars and colloquia worldwide, published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed academic journals (h-index=58), and serves on the editorial boards of Physical Review Letters (APS) and Science Advances (AAAS). He received a number of awards, including elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2019, the 2020 Dirac Medal from the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists, the 2011 Gerhard Ertl Young Investigator Award of the German Physical Society, and two flagship grants from the European Research Council: a Starting Grant in 2011 and a Consolidator Grant in 2017. His group pushes the boundaries of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and machine learning to develop efficient methods to enable accurate modeling and new insights into complex materials.

Igor Poltavskyi


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Research Interests: Statistical physics, imaginary-time path integral methods, nuclear quantum effects, ab initio simulations


Working Experience:


Senior Researcher January, 2016 - present University of Luxembourg


Postdoctoral Fellow December, 2013 - January, 2016 Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society

Postdoctoral Fellow July, 2012 - December, 2013 Institute of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry at POSTECH 

Junior Research Associate April, 2009 - July, 2012 B. Verkin Institute for Low Temperature Physics & Engineering, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Dmitry Fedorov


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Current interests:

Coarse-grained many-body methods based on coupled quantum harmonic oscillators as well as first-principles approaches to study molecules and materials.


Computational condensed matter physics, in particular, first-principles calculations of the electronic structure of three- and two-dimensional crystals as well as description of their transport properties for various phenomena in the field of spintronics and spin caloritronics (like the spin relaxation, the spin and anomalous Hall effect, the spin Nernst effect), including phenomena caused by the geometric phase.


  •  2012-2016   PostDoc, Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Halle, Germany

  • 2006-2011   PostDoc, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany Development and employment of program packages for ab initio calculation of electronic structure and transport properties of solid states, description of physical phenomena related to the field of spintronics and spin caloritronics

  • 1999-2005   Physical-Technical Institute, Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Izhevsk, Russia

             2004-2005: Senior scientist
             2000-2004: Researcher
             1999-2000: Junior research scientist


Development and employment of program packages for calculation of the electronic structure and magnetic properties of solid states, theoretical investigations of their surfaces and electronic response to an applied electric field, transport properties of ultrathin films


  • 1996-1999   Physical-Technical Institute, Izhevsk, Russia, Ph.D.: Solid State Theory (1999)

  • 1991-1996   Udmurt State University, Izhevsk, Russia, M.S.: Theoretical Physics (1996) [with honors]

Somayeh Khazaei


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Somayeh Khazaei obtained her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany in 2018. Her research interest is tunneling of methyl quantum rotors in the condensed phase and quantum-mechanical solution of coupled harmonic oscillators.

Ornella Vaccarelli


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- Current interests: 

Study of strongly correlated materials, where the physics is dominated by the interplay between electronic, spin and vibrational degrees of freedom. The goal is to dominate theoretical laws in order to investigate the exotic phases of matter that might emerge in these materials and predict the collective properties of very large numbers of electrons, atoms or molecules to discover new principles and phenomena at the multidisciplinary interfaces of microscopic and macroscopic models.


- Academic History:

2011–2013 - Master Degree in Theoretical Physics (110/110 L), University of Bari, Italy.

2014–2015 - Holder of a Research Grant in Ghost Imaging and Plenoptic Correlation, University of Bari, Italy.

2015–2018 PhD in Physics, IMPMC, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France.
Thesis: "Exotic phenomena in the new frustrated spin ladder Li2O(CuSO4)2" (Supervisors: Guillaume Radtke and Gwenaelle Rousse)

Leonardo Medrano Sandonas


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-2018-2019: Research assistant at the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden, Dresden, Germany.

-2014-2018: Doctor of Engineering, Chair of Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany. 

-2010-2012: Master in Physics, Condensed matter group, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru.


Research interests:


- Machine learning methods for understanding the chemical space of molecular systems.

- Quantum and classical picture of thermal transport phenomena at the nanoscale.

- Thermoelectric properties of low-dimensional materials.

- Software development for research.

Péter Szabó


Current interests:


- Development of imaginary time path integral methods to calculate quantum partition functions.

- Contribution of the continuum electronic states to the van der Waals interactions.

- Development of numerical methods to study the geometric phase effect in the dynamics of molecular systems.




- Kinetics and dynamics of elementary reactions

- Semiclassical and quantum dynamics of molecular collisions

- Collision induced spectroscopy (collision induced absorption and emission)

- Ab inito quantum chemistry (wave function based methods)

- Development of global potential energy and dipole surfaces of reactions

- DFT and TD-DFT characterization of organometallic molecules

- Experimental photophysics and photochemistry of light harvesting molecules and nanomaterials


Academic history:


2006 - 2011 – M.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Pannonia, Hungary

2011 - 2015 – Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry, University of Pannonia, Hungary

2015 - 2017 – Research Assistant, University of Pannonia, Hungary

2017 - 2019 – Postdoc, University of Luleå, Sweden,

Matteo Barborini


Current interests:
- Development of a quantum Monte Carlo code with geminal and Pfaffian wave functions with GPU acceleration
- Contribution to the project of electron-positron interactions in molecular systems
- Contribution to the project of multiscale approaches for the study of long range interactions


- Quantum Monte Carlo methods
- Density functional theory
- Ab initio wave function based quantum chemistry methods

- Strongly correlated systems.

Academic history:

2017 - 2019 Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg
2014 - 2016 Research assistant at the  National Research Council, Institute of Nanoscience (Modena)
2015 - PhD in ‘Engineering and Physical-Mathematical Modelling', University of L'Aquila
2011 - MSc in Physics, `Sapienza' - University of Rome
2006 - BSc in Physics, `Sapienza' - University of Rome

Martin Stoehr

PhD Student

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Current interests

My current research interests focus on the effect of many-body dispersion interactions on the stability, dynamics, and functionality of (bio)molecules and their complexes in gas phase and (aqueous) solvation. This includes the fundamental understanding of van-der-Waals interactions in large-scale (bio)molecular systems as well as efficient and reliable modeling of dispersion interactions at solute-solvent interfaces. In the course of my studies, we develop novel techniques to characterize collective charge fluctuations and their impact on (bio)molecular systems and materials. For this, we employ combined approaches of Density Functional Theory, semi-empirical methods, and (many-body) dispersion models.

Efficient approaches towards dispersion-inclusive methods for large-scale systems including semi-empirical electronic structure methods as well as high performance implementations.

2016 M.Sc. [Theoretical and Physical Chemistry] TU Munich: Coupling accurate dispersion models to semi-empirical methods (DFTB+vdW) as combined approach to model hybrid inorganic-organic systems.
2013 B.Sc. [Chemistry] Technische Universität München: First-principles investigation of metal surface-adsorbed organic molecules and approaches to tune their functionality.

Valentin Vassilev Galindo

PhD Student

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Current research:

My current research focuses on the sampling of the Potential Energy Surfaces (PES) of molecules with many and/or complex degrees of freedom in order to collect enough data to develop or improve Machine Learning (ML) models. Then, such models will help us to obtain quantum mechanical information and gain insight on troublesome phenomena happening on the PES by employing Path-Integral Molecular Dynamics, which can become affordable for big systems with the aid of the ML models.



  • Designing of non-classical chemical compounds (e.g. Planar Hypercoordinate Carbons) and understanding of its chemical bonding and atomic properties.

  • Extracting chemical concepts from the wave function.

  • Mechanisms of simple reactions using computational approaches. 



  • 2017 M. Sc. in Physical Chemistry (CINVESTAV – Mérida, Mexico): “Designing planar pentacoordinate carbons”.

  • 2014 B. Eng. in Chemical Engineering (Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico): “Theoretical study and simulation of CO2absorption process using amines”.

Reza Karimpour

PhD Student

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Research Interests:

- Dispersion forces and van der Waals interactions in excited states
- Continuum contribution to van der Waals interactions
- Influence of nonlocality on van der Waals interaction
- Dispersion interactions in thermal electromagnetic fields

Erik Pillon

PhD Student

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Current interests:


My work focuses on the modelization of the geometric phase in molecular systems through a Feynman Path Integral approach. In particular, we aim at the construction of efficient numerical algorithms for the evaluation of the Molecular Aharonov-Bohm Effect and its emergence in real systems.




2018-2018: Stage at Institute Néel, Grenoble, under the supervision of Simone Fratini and Arnaud Ralko.

2017-2018: Erasmus+ mobility period at Grenoble INP, Grenoble. 

2016-2018: Master Degree in Mathematics, Verona.

2013-2016: Bachelor Degree in Applied Mathematics, Verona. 

Jorge Alfonso Charry Martinez

PhD Student

Research interests:

- Development of multi-component molecular orbitals methods to include interparticle correlation. 

- Positronic and positronium chemistry. 

- Nuclear quantum effects.

- Software development of quantum chemistry packages. 



2015-2017: Research assistant. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogotá, Colombia. Supervisor: Professor Andrés Reyes

2012-2015: M.Sc. in Chemistry. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogotá, Colombia. Thesis title "Development and implementation of an explicitly correlated Gaussian function method under the Any Particle Molecular Orbital approach, APMO" (Spanish). Supervisor: Professor Andrés Reyes

2007-2012: B.Sc. in Chemistry. Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Bogotá, Colombia. Final project title "Effect of the inclusion of nuclear-electronic correlation on the nuclear delocalization". (Spanish). Supervisor: Professor Andrés Reyes

Szabolcs Goger

PhD Student

Current interests:

             Theoretical study of intermolecular interactions and potentials
             Density functional modeling of van der Waals forces


             Molecular simulations (quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics)
             Theoretical chemical reaction kinetics and dynamics
             Photophysics and photochemistry
             Computational chemistry

Education and research:

  2019-          Doctoral researcher, University of Luxembourg

  2018-2019  Researcher, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

  2016-2018  M.Sc in Chemistry, University of Pannonia, Hungary

  2013-2016  B.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Pannonia, Hungary

Gregory Cordeiro Fonseca

PhD Student



The core of my current work is improving Potential Energy Surface (PES) or Force Field (FF) predictions for Machine Learning (ML) models in molecular simulations. Most recently achieved using clustering techniques to reveal molecular configurations in a data set that are typically underrepresented in usual ML training methods.



2017: B. Sc. in Physics at University of Luxembourg: "Simulation of cholesteric rod-like particles".

2019: M. Sc. in Physics at University of Luxembourg: "Improving Machine Learning force fields for out-of-equilibrium geometries"

Justin Sidney Diamond

PhD Student

Justin Diamond studies atomic systems at the intersection of Physics, Biology, and Machine Learning. As a graduate of Michigan State University's Bachelors program of Human Biology and Boston University's Masters program of Bioinformatics, accompanied by Machine Learning research experience at the University of Michigan and Toyota Technological Institute of Chicago, Justin joined Dr. Alexander Tkatchenko's Theoretical Chemical Physics laboratory to research fundamental questions related to biologically significant systems.  

Matej Ditte

PhD Student

Current interest:
-Multiscale approaches to quantum correlations

-Many-body electronic structure theory and ab initio computations of molecular and extended systems
-Continuum variational and diffusion quantum Monte Carlo techniques
-Non-covalent interactions, fractional charge, excited states

Education and research:
2018-2019:  Research Assistant, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic
2016-2019:  M.Sc. in Solid State Physics, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia
2013-2016:  B.Sc. in Physics, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Huziel Sauceda


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Current Research:

​My current research focuses on the understanding of nuclear quantum effects in inorganic and organic molecules and clusters using machine learned force fields. We use two machine learning methodologies for the force fiend reconstruction process: 1) symmetric gradient domain machine learning (sGDML), and 2) continuous-filter convolutional neural network (SchNet). Specifically, the ongoing projects are:


- Development of new machine learning models to describe large molecules. 

- Understanding the dynamical implications of local and non-local electronic interactions (e.g. H-bonding, proton transfer, lone pairs, changes in hybridization states, steric repulsion and n→π∗transitions).

- Nuclear quantum effects in inorganic clusters.



- Vibrational and thermodynamical properties of molecules, clusters and nanoparticles

- Vector Valued Kernel Ridge Regression 

- Contributor to the sGDML package (



2012 - 2016:  PhD in Materials Science (Hons.)  form Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico. 

2009 - 2011: Master in Science (Physics) (Hons.) from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico. 

2003 - 2008: Bachelor in Physics (Hons.)  from Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Mexico. 

Niccolò Gentile

PhD Student

Enrolled in a PhD in Economics, my current research focuses on applying Machine Learning algorithms to Economic data to predict and interpret the determinants of multiple Economic phenomena, including individual well-being and self-assessed life satisfaction.



2011 - 2014: Bachelor of Science (BSc), Economics and Management, Bocconi University

2014 - 2017: Master of Science (MSc), Economic and Social Sciences, Bocconi University Final year thesis: "P - value and its frequentist misinterpretation: a case study in a Bayesian framework".


Professional Experience:

Sep. 2015 - Jan. 2016: Research Assistant intern,

Jun 2017 - Nov. 2017: EU Inbound Analytics intern,  

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The work of Prof. Alexandre Tkatchenko is supported in part by the European Research Council under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n. 725291)  and by FNR.