Scientific profile

It is now generally understood that the photon, the light particle, will play a similar role in the development of cutting edge technologies in the 21st century as did the electron in the 20th century for electrical engineering and electronics. Lasers are one of the key sources for light with very special properties. The control of coherence, i.e. forcing light waves in step with each other, represents a revolution in the generation of light and has led to a breakthrough of new optical methods in research and technology. Lasers are indispensable tools for storing and transmitting information, for measurement techniques, for medical diagnostics as well as for high-technology materials processing from ships and airplanes down to computer chips.. Lasers allow for the generation of extremely short light pulses with a duration of less than a millionth of a millionth of a second (1 picosecond = 10-12s). Ultrafast processes in nature can be induced and observed in real time using such ultra-short pulses. Ultra-fast science has become an important field of basic research and has found broad application in measurement and - more recently - process technologies. Ultra-short pulses can be amplified to extremely high intensities at which new states of matter may be excited by nonlinear processes.

It is this field of research with and at ultrashort and ultraintense lasers and laser based pulsed light sources which constitutes the mission of the MBI. On the one hand, lasers represent a subject of research; on the other hand, lasers are the essential tool used for experimental studies of light-matter interaction. Hence, MBI’s research program focuses on

  • new sources for ultra short and ultra intense light pulses, pulse shaping, pulse characterization, and measuring techniques for ultra fast processes in a broad spectral range from the mid-infrared to the x-ray region
  • ultrafast and nonlinear phenomena with special emphasis on
    • atoms, molecules, clusters and plasmas
    • and surfaces and solid state.

The combination of modern laser development and measuring technique with its interdisciplinary application in basic research and for emerging key technologies constitutes the unique profile of the MBI and its attraction to external cooperation partners.

A schematic of the research structure is shown here.