Master's Programme Physics Specializations
Ion- and Applied Physics

Ion physics and applied physics focuses on atomic, molecular and cluster ions in the gas phase and their applications in atmospheric physics and chemistry, chemical analytics and molecular spectroscopy. It also extends into nanotechnology and surface science, with single molecule force spectropy or nanostructured surfaces as two examples. The corresponding branch in the Master's programme provides frontier knowledge in these areas. It covers both the tools and the applications, from molecular spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, quantum chemistry to environmental physics and chemical analytics. Students are trained to undertake fundamental research with an experimental or theoretical focus, but also have the chance to combine experiment and theory in their research project.

Recommended course of study

Here we provide a list of lectures that we offer for the specialization Ion- and Applied Physics in the study years 2020-2022 and a suggestion how to fill the associated elective modules. Mandatory modules are included so that 30±2.5 ECTS can be earned in each semester. Additional lectures and topics will evolve with time depending on promising research directions, academic staff, and interest of the Master students. Please be aware that some specialized lectures may not be offered every year and plan ahead.

Those elective modules that are required for the specialization Ion- and Applied Physics are highlighted in bold.

Please feel free to contact any Professor in Ion Physics and Applied Physics at any time to discuss your plans and optimize the selection of courses for your research project. If you start the master programme in a summer semester, we recommend to discuss your study plans with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexander Kendl to make sure that you can pursue your studies as smoothly as possible.

Year 1: Study Phase

First semester/winter

  • Compulsory module: Modern Physics (5 ECTS) – all physics master students
  • Elective module: Advanced Laboratory Courses A & B (10 ECTS)
  • Elective module: Ion Physics (10 ECTS)
    • Lecture Ion Physics (VO4)
    • Proseminar Ion Physics (PS2)
  •  Elective module: Specialization (suitable for the elective modules Specialization A, Specialization B, Theoretical Specialization, Interdisciplinary Skills) (5 ECTS)
    We recommend one of the following courses (VU3):
    • Environmental Physics
    • Modern Methods of Quantum Chemistry
    • Molecular Dynamics I
    • Molecular Dynamics I
    • Mathematical Algorithms I
    • Methodology of Scientific Computing
    • any other VU3 course in physics on master level


Second semester/summer

  • Elective module: Advanced Topics of Ion Physics and Applied Physics (10 ECTS)
    • Mass Spectrometry and Analytical Applications (VU3)
    • Computational Molecular Spectroscopy and Photochemistry (VU3)

Both lectures are required for completion of the module.

  • Elective module: Specialized Laboratory Courses A & B (10 ECTS)
  • Elective module: Specialization (suitable for the elective modules Specialization A, Specialization B, Theoretical Specialization, Interdisciplinary Skills) (10 ECTS)
    We recommend two of the following courses (VU3):
    • Aerosol Physics
    • Electron induced reactions in atoms and molecules
    • Nano- and Cluster Physics
    • Molecular Dynamics II
    • Mathematical Algorithms II
    • Classical field theory I: continuum dynamics of fluid, gas and solud state matter
    • Classical field theory II: plasma physics
    • any other VU3 course within the physics master curriculum

Year 2: Research Phase

Third semester/winter

It is recommended to discuss possible thesis projects with potential advisors 4-12 weeks before the semester starts. Potential thesis advisors are all research group leaders at the Institut of Ion Physics and Applied Physics, see the webpage for further information and contact details:

  • Compulsory module: Critical Research Analysis (22,5 ECTS)
    • Research Analysis (5 ECTS)
      Specialized course preparing for master thesis research work. Ideally chose from recommendation(s) by your thesis advisor.
    • Research Seminar (5 ECTS)
      In a research group seminar (ideally hosted by your supervisor), recent methods and results from the research groups are presented and discussed. Please chose one from the list:

      Chemical Physics (M. Beyer)
      Physics of Molecular Systems (R. Wester)
      Atmospherical Chemistry (A. Hansel)
      Nano and Cluster Physics (P. Scheier)
      Nonlinear Dynamics (A. Kendl; starting from winter 2021/22)

    • Research Study (12.5 ECTS)
      This is the preparatory phase for your master thesis in consultation with your thesis supervisor. It will be offered as a specific course from winter term 2021/22 on.
  • Elective Module: Specialization (5 ECTS)
    See first semester for a list of recommended courses offered in winter.


Fourth semester/summer

This last term is fully reserved for your master thesis work and defense. We also recommend to again participate in the research seminar of your group, but this is considered part of your thesis work and will not be credited with extra ECTS.

  • Master thesis (30 ECTS)
  • Defence of the master’s thesis (2.5 ECTS)


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