The science of light has just as many facets as light itself - from nanophotonics to quantum optics or strongfield physics there are countless interesting fields of research. Our MPSP Fellows, i.e. researchers, are active in many of them. At universities and non-university research institutions, they work to elicit all the secrets of light and to make it usable for mankind in a wide variety of ways.
And now you can get some insights into this research! From September to December 2023 we’ll again have an exciting MPSP Lecture Series for you (almost) every Wednesday at 5 p.m. CET (= 3 p.m. UTC | 11 a.m. EDT | 8.30 p.m. IST). A MPSP Fellow reports 45 minutes on her/his research. Afterwards, you can ask and discuss questions for 15 minutes.
The lecture series is completely free and takes place virtually via Zoom.
Lecture Topic: Internal processing with ultrashort laser pulses – from dielectrics to semiconductors Ultrashort pulse laser processing has become a powerful tool for direct inscription of optical functionalities like waveguides, Bragg structures or artificial birefringence in various glasses and crystals. In addition, cutting and welding of different glasses has been demonstrated with ultrashort pulses. All these processes rely on a well-controlled nonlinear energy deposition inside the transparent material. In this lecture, we will cover the fundamentals of the nonlinear energy deposition and discuss how to transfer this to semiconductor materials.
Lecture Topic: The ultrafast way of electron control - fully coherently We will demonstrate how electrons can be steered with the light field of ultrashort laser pulses. Recent examples include fully coherent electron dynamics at the surface of needle tips, inside of graphene, and at nanophotonic structures. Based on these results, we foresee applications ranging from petahertz electronics to new particle accelerators on a chip.
Lecture Topic: Nonlinear photonic metasurfaces and nanoresonators Due to their strong field confinement, nanoscale optical resonators can enhance light-matter interactions considerably already for moderate quality factors of the resonances. This can give rise to appreciable nonlinear effects. When multiple such nanoresonators are arranged in an ordered ensemble, collective resonance effects can enhance these nonlinear effects even further. Metasurfaces, being formed by a two-dimensional lattice of nanoresonators, therefore open the door to many applications relying on nonlinear light generation or manipulation. In this lecture I will introduce to the basic effects, the typical materials and technological constrains as well as some application examples.
Lecture Topic: Fluorescence Imaging at the Angström Scale The lecture will describe the initial demonstrations of quantitative intra-molecular distance measurement capabilities with MINFLUX fluorescence nanoscopy, in the FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) range and below, down to Angström distances. MINFLUX localization, pioneered and developed by Stefan Hell and his laboratory, achieves unique measurement precisions of single molecules.
Research Topic: Nanoscopic Analysis of Neurodegenerative Disease Proteins Dr. Steffen J. Sahl researches at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen. His research interests are in biophysical imaging and spectroscopy at high resolution and sensitivity, in particular the further development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy (nanoscopy), and applying these methods to analyze the intracellular pathogenic events involving aggregation-prone proteins and their fragments in neurodegenerative disorders, notably Huntington's and prion diseases.
Research Topic: Optical Systems, Computational Optics, EUV-Technology Professor, theoretical physicist and mechanical engineer with specialization in optical technology, photonics and numerical modeling. Holly studied mechanical engineering and physics at RWTH Aachen University and received his PhD in April 2019 from the RWTH Chair of Laser Technology LLT. In 2017, he joined TRUMPF Photonics in Cranbury, USA, where he worked on semiconductor laser development with focus on modeling of high-power diode lasers. In 2021 Prof. Holly became new head of the RWTH Chair for Technology of Optical Systems TOS, and since October 2022 he is the Head of Department Data Science and Measurement Technology at Fraunhofer ILT. more
Lecture Topic: Photonics for Climate. Nanophotonic instruments to analyse the atmosphere Climate change is one of the most pressing problems of our time. In order to better understand and regulate these processes, we must be able to measure the composition of the atmosphere at any place and at any time. Above all, the quantitative measurement of trace gases such as CO2, nitrogen oxides, water vapour and methane is a major metrological challenge that can only be solved by high-performance spectrometers, such as those used in ESA's Sentinel programme. Nanostructured gratings and complex setups with gratings form the heart of the instruments. Using the ESA mission CO2m as an example, I discuss Jena's contribution to optical instruments and show that large, lithographic structures that enable the control of light on the scale of nanometres are a key element for modern high-performance optics.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Schmidt has held the Chair of Photonic Technologies at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) since it was founded in 2009. In 2002 he completed his doctorate on the subject of "Process control for laser beam spot welding in electronics production" and became then a member of the board of directors of Bayerische Laserzentrum GmbH, which he has been managing director since January 2005. His current research interests include laser applications from the microscopic to the macroscopic scale in the fields of industrial manufacturing, additive manufacturing and medical technology. more
Prof. Karsch is a group leader of “High Field Lasers and Applications Group (HiFLAG)”. His group works on high-power laser development, electron and X-ray sources, as well as applications of these sources. Prof. Stefan Karsch's "High Field Lasers and Applications Group (HiFLAG)" encompasses three major research directions: 1. Operation and development of high-power laser systems. 2. Laser-driven electron acceleration. 3. Laser-driven X-ray sources and their applications. more
Lecture Topic: Parametric amplification of few-cycle laser pulses This lecture covers a wide range of topics from the basic concepts of nonlinear optics to topical waveform synthesizer systems. The different types of pumping technology are introduced and compared. The spatio-temporal pulsing dynamics during parametric amplification is analyzed. Design criteria are given and selected applications are discussed. more
Lecture Topic: The quest for the ultranarrow nuclear resonances in the x-ray regime
The extremely high spectral resolution of nuclear transitions can be used for applications in extreme metrology, for instance for development of a nuclear clock superior to the state-of-art atomic optical clocks or for interferometry with utmost sensitivity. The major advantage of nuclear transitions is a much smaller sensitivity to frequency shifts from electromagnetic fields as compared to atomic transitions. This qualifies nuclear transitions for testing of fundamental principles of physics, including temporal variation of the fundamental constants. In this Lecture I will report about new experimental opportunities in this field at X-ray laser sources.
Lecture Topic: Molecular-plasmonic Hybrid Systems in External Light Fields The excitation of collective electron dynamics inside the metallic nanoparticles induced by external light fields leads to strongly re-shaped electromagnetic nearfields with a complex spatial and temporal profile. The interaction of these modified and enhanced nearfields with systems located in close vicinity to the metallic nanoparticle is the origin of many astonishing physical and chemical phenomena, such as the formation of new quasi-particles, new mechanisms for chemical reactions or the ultra-high spatial resolution and selectivity in molecular detection. more
Lecture topic: Quantum- and nano-optics with tunable microcavities Optical microcavities are a powerful tool to enhance light-matter interactions. This enables applications ranging from ultra-sensitive spectroscopy and sensing to quantum information. To achieve large cavity enhancement on a flexible platform, we have developed microscopic Fabry-Perot cavities based on laser-machined optical fibers. In the context of sensing, we use microcavities for imaging and spectroscopy applications, as well as for sensing of dynamic properties of individual nanosystems. We have developed scanning cavity microscopy as a versatile method for spatially and spectrally resolved maps of various optical properties of a sample with ultra-high sensitivity. Simultaneous enhancement of absorptive, dispersive, and scattering signals promises intriguing potential for optical studies of nanomaterials, molecules and biological nanosystems. For quantum information applications, we employ such cavities to realize efficient readout of individual spin-bearing quantum emitters by means of Purcell enhancement of fluorescence emission. We study solid state quantum emitters such as NV centers in diamond and rare earth ions, with the goal to realize a quantum repeater for long-distance quantum communication, and optically addressable multi-qubit registers for quantum computing nodes.
Research Topic: Photonic integrated circuits, silicon photonics, guided waves, electronic-photonic integrated systems, heterogeneous integration Joyce Poon is a Director at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Toronto, Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Technical University of Berlin, and Affiliate Scientist of the Krembil Research Institute in Toronto. She and her team specialize in integrated photonics on silicon for computing, communications, and neurotechnology. Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2007 and 2003 respectively. B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science (physics option) from the University of Toronto in 2002. Appointed Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2007. Director at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics since 2018. Fellow of the Optical Society. more
Research Topic:hybrid quantum photonic devices At Paderborn University, Prof. Dr. Klaus Jöns heads up the “Hybrid Quantum Photonic Devices” working group, which focuses on the development of novel components for photonic quantum technologies, with a particular focus on quantum communication and computing applications. more
Lecture Topic: Non-invasive cross-sectional imaging with nano-scale resolution We will start with learning about optical coherence tomography, a really beautiful imaging method that you already may have encountered as a patient in an ophthalmologists office. In my lab, we have developed a setup for coherence tomography in the extreme ultraviolet spectral region. While your eye doctor would take cross-sectional images of your retina with micrometer resolution, we look into, e.g., silicon samples and detect and characterize buried structures with nanometer resolution.
Summer is over and the winter semester is just around the corner. The best time for our Autumn School! We started and ended this year at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light in Erlangen. During the week we were in Nuremberg and our PhD candidates had the chance to expand their knowledge and gain new insights in workshops and lectures. The programme was rounded off by social activities such as the culture food exchange evening or a treasure hunt.
On May 11 and 12, we had the pleasure of having a two days joint event in Göttingen, bringing together some of the students of the MPSP (Max Planck School of Photonics) and MPS MtL. This event was a fantastic opportunity for our schools to meet, share knowledge, and explore each other's science labs.
But what is a Location Visit? Location Visits are for study phase students, organized by the student representatives. The students get the chance to get to know the different labs in our partner institutes and universities and get scientific insights into the research groups of our Fellows. During the last two years our PhD candidates in the Study Phase visited Jena, Karlsruhe, Erlangen and Munich.
Moin, Moin from Hamburg! At the end of March, not even a train strike or the varied Hamburg weather could stop us from holding this year's Spring School. In addition to the Student Conference, which took place for the first time, our PhD students had the opportunity to exchange ideas with each other, but also to discover Hamburg during our Social Afternoon. This year’s Spring School ended with lectures by our Fellows and guided tours on the DESY premises.
Diversity in Teams fosters creativity, productivity and more complex thinking (Antonio, 2004; Nathan & Lee, 2013). Yet research teams in photonics are only slowly becoming more diverse – but why? Are differences attracting each other, also in a scientific context, or do similar minds work better together after all? Our event series wants to take a closer look at diversity in science, and offer a platform to address the strengths and challenges of diverse teams.
"Science has always been building bridges" - this quote of our MPSP speaker Gerd Leuchs at the fireside evening of the MPSP Spring School actually referred to the role of science in times of crisis. However, it is also a perfect headline for the recap of this great event. Our PhD candidates and Fellows have once again shown how quickly bridges can be built between research fields, institutions and nationalities if a common passion for science is shared.
From research on "High-harmonic generation from solids" to becoming a machine learning specialist - this is the exciting career path Nicolai Klemke, alumnus of the Max Planck School of Photonics, has taken. In our alumni interview, he tells us how it came about, what the biggest challenge during his PhD was and why you should always be prepared to need a little more time for your research than you or your supervisor schedule.
Almost five years of research on "Polarization control in femtosecond-laser directly written waveguides" finally paid off for former MPSP PhD candidate Kim Lammers: At the beginning of 2022, she defended her thesis with top marks! We caught up with her the very next day for an interview to find out more about what this feels like and what tips she has for those at the beginning of their dissertation.
The MPSP was launched in 2018 - which means our first PhD students have already completed their doctorates. We asked our alumnus Dr. Jonas Hammer what tips he has for those who are just starting with their PhD and how he benefited from the Max Planck School of Photonics.