Division A: Attosecond Physics

Director: Prof. Dr. M. Vrakking, Free University of Berlin

The research in Division A is dedicated to the development and the application of attosecond light sources in the XUV and soft x-ray wavelength range based on high-order harmonic generation, using both Ti:Sa femtosecond laser technologies and optical parametric amplification schemes. These sources are used to investigate time-dependent light-matter interaction in a broad wavelength range from THz to XUV. Among the main goals are the real-time vizualization and control of ultrafast electron dynamics on its natural, attosecond, timescale by means of attosecond pump-probe spectroscopy. A strong emphasis is also given to the fundamentals of extreme non-linear phenomena, field-driven electron dynamics, high harmonic generation and strong field ionization.

Division A is substructured in three departments:

Department Department Head
A1Strong Field Processes at Extreme WavelengthsArnaud Rouzée
A2Ultrafast XUV-PhysicsOleg Kornilov
A3Ultrafast Lasers and Nonlinear OpticsTamás Nagy

The titles of the departments indicate the know-how available in Division A.

In summary the areas of competence are described as follows:


  • Development of femtosecond light sources based on laser and parametric amplification technology producing cutting edge output characteristics optimized for high-order harmonic generation
  • Pulse compression technologies for few-cycle pulse generation at high energy and average power in a broad wavelength range, from mid-IR to UV.
  • Development and characterization of ultrashort XUV and soft x-ray pulses reaching the attosecond timescale (a millionth of a billionth of a second!)
  • Investigation of coherent electron dynamics in finite quantum systems, from small molecules to large nanoparticles and clusters
  • Real-time investigation of ultrafast molecular dynamics based on XUV and soft x-ray pump-probe spectroscopy, both in the gas phase and in solution
  • Field-driven attosecond electron dynamics in atoms and molecules
  • Fundamental principles behind laser micromachining and microfabrication in the bulk and at the surface with few-cycle laser pulses, including high-order harmonic generation in solids
  • Strong field phenomena, including strong field ionization/dissociation of atoms, molecules and clusters, field driven electron recombination and recollision
  • Velocity map imaging and coincidence spectroscopy for attosecond and femtosecond time-resolved photoion and photoelectron spectroscopy


  • Ab-initio molecular dynamics simulation based on time-dependent resolution in ionic state (TD-RIS)
  • Attosecond spectroscopy in atoms and molecules
  • Tailored attosecond pulse generation and characterization


In the framework of the research structure of the MBI, scientists of division A participate in the following projects: