Martin Meedom Nielsen

Martin Meedom Nielsen


Department of Physics

Technical University of Denmark


Building 307, room 228

2800 Kgs. Lyngby

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1987 - 1996
Ph.D., Aarhus University

Academic degrees


Areas of expertise

Research focus area and achievements

X-ray science at synchrotrons and free electron lasers, elucidating the structure and function of molecular materials - from static systems to ultrafast structural dynamics. Developing X-ray instrumentation and methods for data modelleing, reduction and analysis.

I pioneered the use of grazing incidence x-ray scattering in organic electronics, enabling the first demonstration of the relationship between microstructure and charge carrier mobility in organic field effect transistors (OFETs), (Nature, 401, 685 (1999)). Later this was enhanced by the first demonstration of structural control of OFETs using polymer blends (Nature Mat., 5, 950 (2006), front page).

I headed the group making the first x-ray structure of an excited state in solution (J. Am. Chem. Soc, 131, 502 (2009)), and the first time-resolved structural study of an associative chemical reaction in solution (Angew. Chem Int. Ed., 48, 4180 (2009)). We made the world’s first time resolved x-ray scattering study of molecules in solution, recorded with time resolutions below 300 fs at LCLS. In June 2012 we were the first European research group at the Japanese XFEL, SACLA. We have pioneered methods for XFEL experiments, enabling new insights in charge transfer mechanisms and structural response to light (Nature, 509, 345 (2014), Nature Meth. 11, 923-926 (2014), Nature Comm. 6359 , (2015)).  My Group made the first demonstration of coherent wave packet dynamics in solvated molecules (PRL 117, 013002 (2016)).


  • Danish National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence Director (2005-2013)
  • Appointed Adjunct Professor, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen (2012-)
  • The Rene Descartes Prize Award by the European Commission (2000)

Commissions of trust

2015 -            Board Member of ISA/ASTRID2 synchrotron facility, University of Aarhus

2015 - 2016   Chair of the Search and Selection Committee for the next Director General of the XFEL.EU

2015 -            Board Member of ISA/ASTRID2 synchrotron facility, University of Aarhus

2015              Chair of assessment committee, Honorary Doctorate

2014 -            Chair of Council of the European XFEL Council, the supreme organ of the XFEL.EU. Reappointed for the last period of two years June 2016 – June 2018.

2013 -            Board member of DANSCATT, Danish centre for use of X-ray and Neutron facilities

2013 -            National delegate to ESUO, the European Synchrotron Users Organization

2014              Chair of assessment committee, Adjunct Professorship, DTU

2014 -            Delegate to the Management Committee for COST MP1306: Modern Tools for Spectroscopy on Advanced Materials

2013              Chair of assessment committee, Full Professorship, DTU

2012 -            Delegate (elected) to the Council of the European Physical Society

2012 – 2015  Delegate to the Management Committee for COST Action MP1203: Advanced X-ray spatial and temporal metrology

2012              Reviewer for ERC Advanced Grant

2012 -            Member of Project Review Panels at the synchrotron ISA, Denmark (2012-)

2012 – 2014   Member of Project Review Panels at the synchrotron ESRF, France

2011 -            Member of Project Review Panels at the the synchrotron Swiss Light Source, Switzerland

2011 -            Chair of the FXE instrument Advisory and Review Team, The European XFEL

2011 -            Reviewer for the Slovenian Research Council

2011 -            Member of the Photon Factory Science Advisory Committee, Ultrafast Science

2010 - 2011   Member, Ultrafast Beamline Review Panel, Advanced Photon Source Upgrade

2010 - 2014   Delegate to the European XFEL Council

2009 - 2012   User Executive Committee at the LCLS, Stanford (elected vice chair 2010, chair 2011-12)

2009 – 2011  Member of Assesment commitees, permanent positions, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne.

International experience

EU projects: FREQUENT, DISCEL, NAIMO (2004-2008), and ONE-P (2009-2011), the latter two as national lead. National lead in EUROCORES program NETSOMA (2002-2006), networks COST MP1203 (2012-15), COST MP1306 (2014-2016), Science Link (2012-15) and  ESUO delegate (2013-). 

Current major collaborations: Christian Bressler (Lead scientist at the FXE instrument, European XFEL), on XFEL instrumentation, methods, and in particular spectroscopy: Exchange of students, XX co-publications. Villy Sundström and the Chemical Physics group (Lund University), on optical spectroscopy and molecular systems: Co-supervision of PhD students, Interreg Projects, co-publications. Gÿogy Vanko (Budapest), on X-ray spectroscopy and Theory. Kelly Gaffney (director SSRL, PULSE/SLAC/Stanford), on XFEL experiments and optical spectroscopy: Exchange of students, co-publications. Presently one post doc stationed at SLAC/Stanford.

I have close ties to many researchers at large scale facilities as evidenced by membership of several committees and of beamtime review panels. A network of my former Ph.D. students are centrally placed at world leading time resolved beamlines.

Other information


As chair of the council Council for of the European XFEL, I am responsible for an international X-ray facility with a construction budget of 1.2 bnEUR and 121 member countries. During my chairmanship, the European XFEL will be transitioning from construction to operation phase.

 As head of section at DTU, I’ am part of the management of DTU Physics. I headed the change management in establishing a new Section, the Section for Neutrons and X-rays for Materials Physics (NEXMAP) at DTU Physics in 2012. The section has grown from 12 to 35 employees today.