Universiteit Leiden

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Thanja Lamberts

Assistant Professor

Dr. A.L.M. Lamberts
+31 71 527 4533

Thanja Lamberts is an assistant professor at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry and Leiden Observatory. Her group focuses on computational astrochemistry to unravel which molecules can be formed efficiently in the dense regions of the interstellar medium. She is particularly interested in the chemistry that takes place on the surface of ice-coated dust grains.

More information about Thanja Lamberts

Research interests

During my PhD with Prof. Dr. H. Linnartz (Laboratory for Astrophysics, Leiden University) I have worked on experimental surface astrochemistry using ultra-high vacuum and cryogenic technology in order to mimic the physical conditions in the interstellar medium. In particular, I studied water formation.

While confirmation or exclusion of reaction pathways is possible in experiments like these, it is nearly impossible to disentangle the relative importance of individual elemental processes, e.g., adsorption, diffusion, dissociation, recombination and desorption. Therefore, I have performed kinetic Monte Carlo (kMC) simulations in collaboration with Dr. H. Cuppen (Radboud University Nijmegen).

Subsequently, as an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Dr. J. Kästner (University of Stuttgart), I calculated reaction rate constants at low temperatures, i.e., well below 100 K. To overcome activation barriers in these cold interstellar conditions, tunneling needs to be taken into account. For this, instanton theory is a very suitable method.

I have worked as a Veni laureate with Dr. J. Meyer (Leiden University) to better understand how and how efficiently reaction excess energy dissipates into the surface degrees of freedom of molecular ices and solids relevant to the interstellar medium.

Currently, I make use of my experience outlined above and employ computational chemical techniques to study surface processes individually, and link the outcome to observational, experimental, and modeling work at Leiden Observatory.    

Short Curriculum Vitae

Nationality: Dutch
Date of birth: 12 September 1987


2015 PhD in experimental and modeling astrochemistry, Leiden University and Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Thesis title: "Unraveling the surface formation of regular and deuterated water in space"
Advisors: Prof. Dr. H. Linnartz, Dr. H.M. Cuppen
2010 M.Sc. in Physical Chemistry - cum laude, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2008 B.Sc. in Chemistry - summa cum laude, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Current and previous research positions

2021 - present Assistant Professor, Leiden Institute of Chemistry and Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2018 -2022 Veni laureate, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, The Netherlands
2016 - 2017 Humboldt fellow, Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, Germany
2016 Visiting researcher, Institute for Low-Temperature Studies, Sapporo, Japan
2016 Postdoctoral researcher, Institute for Theoretical Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, Germany 
2015 Postdoctoral researcher, Radboud University Nijmegen (Dr. H.M. Cuppen), The Netherlands

Grants and awards

2017 Veni grant for independent postdoctoral research (NL)
2016 Alexander von Humboldt fellowship for postdoctoral research (DE)
2013 Poster prize Study Group Meeting NWO 
2013 Poster prize HRSMC Symposium
2009 Unilever Research prize 

Publication record:

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Assistant Professor

  • Science
  • Leiden Institute of Chemistry
  • LIC/Energy & Sustainability
  • LIC/ES/Theoretical Chemistry

Work address

Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden
Room number CM4.36


Assistant Professor

  • Science
  • Sterrewacht
  • Sterrewacht

Work address

Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden
Room number BW4.43



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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