Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter

Prof. Dr. R. J. Dwayne Miller

Luruper Chaussee 149, Geb. 99 (CFEL)

22761 Hamburg




Prof. Dr. R. J. Dwayne Miller

Prof. Dr. R. J. Dwayne Miller

Prof. Dr. R. J. Dwayne Miller




  • +49 (0)40 8998-6200



Curriculum Vitae

Short Version

R.J. Dwayne Miller
Max Planck Director, MPISD Hamburg Professor of Chemistry and Physics, University of Toronto Distinguished Research Faculty Chair in Chemical and University Professor Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada  

Degrees / Research Training
1983-1984 NATO Science Fellow, Université Joseph Fourier, Dr. P.Trommsdorff 1978-1983 Stanford University, Ph.D., 1983, Advisor: Professor Michael D. Fayer 1974-1978 University of Manitoba, B.Sc. Honours, 1978, Advisor: Professor Bryan R. Henry  

2014-present, Director, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter 2007-present University Professor, University of Toronto 2010-2013 Director, Max Planck Group, Centre for Free Electron Laser Science/DESY 2005-2010 Director of the Institute for Optical Sciences, University of Toronto 1995-present Professor of Chemistry and Physics, University of Toronto 1992-1995 Professor of Chemistry and Optics, University of Rochester 1988-1992 Associate Professor of Chemistry and Optics, University of Rochester 1984-1988 Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Rochester  

Representative Publications (237  total and 11 issued patents)
  1. B.J. Siwick et al., “An Atomic-Level View of Melting Using Femtosecond Electron Diffraction,” Science 2003, 302(5649), 1382-1385. First femtosecond diffraction experiment with sufficient diffraction orders to give a direct observation of atomic motions on the relevant timescale – First “Molecular Movie”.  
  2. M.L. Cowan et al., “Ultrafast Memory Loss and Energy Redistribution in the Hydrogen Bond Network of Liquid H2O,” Nature 2005, 434(7030), 199–202. Solved 100 year old problem in spectroscopy, and provided directly the intermolecular couplings involved the hydrogen bond network that imparts water’s special properties. 
  3. V.I. Prokhorenko et al., “Coherent Control of Retinal Isomerization in Bacteriorhodopsin,” Science 2006, 313(5791), 1257-1261. Opened new field of weak field coherent control, addressed long standing issue of quantum coherence in biological systems, and with recent theoretical support highlighted a fundamental difference for coherent control for closed and open quantum systems.
  4. H. Jean-Ruel et al. “Ring Closing Reaction in Diarylethene Captured by Femtosecond Electron Crystallography”, J. Phys. Chem. B, 2013, 117 (49) 15894–15902. This work was the first to follow a true transition state process of chemical reaction viz small barrier in the excited state potential. The key motions involved in directing this classic cyclization reaction with conserved stereochemistry were directly observed at the atomic level.
  5. M. Gao et al. “Mapping Molecular Motions Leading to Charge Delocalization using Ultrabright Electrons”, Nature 2013, 496(7445), 343-346.  First direct observation of the far from equilibrium motions and  enormous reduction in dimensionality in barrier crossing regions that directs chemistry – the magic of chemistry revealed at the atomic level
Invited Lectures and Papers Presented  
From 2008 – 2013, over 200 presentations were made with over 150 of these being invited lectures, Named Lectures, Gordon Conferences, Faraday Discussions, Max Born Institute, DESY, Riken, Kyoto, Institute for Molecular Science (Okazaki), Nagoya, Columbia, Yale, MIT, UC Boulder Distinguished Summer Lecture Series, Princeton, Stanford, Global Lecturer (Japan), Student Invited Colloquia (Chicago, Emory, Stanford) etc.  

A.P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Humboldt Award, Presidential Young Investigator, Rutherford Medal in Chemistry, CIC Medal, McNeil Medal for Science Promotion

Short Bio
     R. J. Dwayne Miller has published over 200 research articles, one book, and several reviews.  Over his 25 year career, he has trained 27 Ph. D. students and an equal number of postdoctoral students.  His former students currently hold faculty or senior scientist positions at Yale, U. Michigan (2), Kaiserslautern U, U of Regina, Wellesley, U. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, NIST, Lawrence Livermore National Labs, Fritz Haber Institute (Berlin), ONERA / Université de Toulouse, U of Waterloo, Tokyo Tech University, University of Tokyo, and University of Toronto, as representative examples. 
     His research focus has been developing new ultrafast laser technology and spectroscopies that are aimed at providing an atomic level description of the primary events defining the structure-function of Biology. This work culminated in the development of new electron sources that provided the first view of atomic motions with sufficient time and spatial resolution to resolve the primary events involved in structural changes.  
     His research accomplishments have been recognized with an A.P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Presidential Young Investigator Award, Polanyi Award, Rutherford Medal in Chemistry, and numerous named lectureships.  He was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1998.  He currently holds the Distinguished Faculty Research Chair in Chemical and Biological Physics and is Founding Director of the Institute for Optical Sciences at the University of Toronto.  He was appointed as a University Professor at the University of Toronto in 2008, a rank reserved for less than 2% of the faculty.  He was awarded the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) Medal in 2009, the highest honour within the CIC.  
     He is also a strong advocate for science promotion.  He founded Science Rendezvous, which is the largest celebration of science (geographically at least) with over 300 events and over 34 institutions all across Canada participating to make science accessible to the general public and raise awareness to the importance of science to society.  Over 160,000 people (made possible with >4000 volunteers) have had the opportunity to see science in action and have a direct discussion with researchers at the front lines.  He was awarded the McNeil Medal from the Royal Society of Canada for this work in 2011.   
     On January 1, 2014, he officially took up the position as Max Planck Director of the Atomically Resolved Dynamics Division at the newly created Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg in which he is co-Founding Director.  He is also a co-Director of the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging.  He holds an ERC Advanced Grant for developing new tools approaching the fundamental limit to minimally invasive surgery and biodiagnostics with an extensive medical research network to advance the knowledge translation of his group’s research activities.

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

loading content