MBI Staff Member – Personal info


  • Head of Department C3 "Femtosecond Spectroscopy on Solids"
  • Coordinator of Project 3.2 "Solids and Nanostructures: Electrons, Spins, and Phonons"
  • Coordinator of Project 3.3 "Transient Structures and Imaging with X-rays"


I am interested in ultrafast and nonlinear phenomena in condensed matter, in particular organic and inorganic solids and nanostructures. To this end, I generate and apply ultrashort pulses in a wide spectral range (THz to hard x-ray) to measure the nonequilibrium dynamics of elementary excitations in solids and the ultrafast structural dynamics of crystalline material. Most recent activities are two-dimensional spectroscopy in the THz frequency range (Figure: two phonon coherences in InSb) and femtosecond x-ray absorption experiments using table top high harmonic sources.

Curriculum vitae

1981-1988 Study of physics at the Technical University (TU) of Munich

1988-1991 PhD Work at TU Munich, Physics Department E11 (Prof. W. Kaiser)

1991 Graduation (Dr. rer. nat.) at the TU

1991-1993 Postdoctoral Researcher at the Physics Department E11, TU Munich

1993-1996 Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max-Born-Institute, Berlin

1997 Postdoctoral Researcher at Bell Laboratories (Lucent), Holmdel, NJ, USA

since 1997 Department head of C3 at the Max-Born-Institute, Berlin

1999 Habilitation at the Humboldt University Berlin

Recent highlight(s)

Electric polarization in the macroscopic world and electrons moving at atomic scales

Wiggling atoms switch the electric polarization of crystals

Quantum Swing - a pendulum that moves forward and backwards at the same time

Amplification of Sound Waves at Extreme Frequencies

Hot means slow: Electron plasma oscillations tuned down with light

The longer the better: Optical long-wavelength pulses generate brilliant ultrashort hard x-ray flashes

MBI Publications

  1. Ultrafast spatiotemporal dynamics of terahertz generation by ionizing two-color femtosecond pulses in gases

    I. Babushkin, W. Kuehn, C. Köhler, S. Skupin, L. Bergé, K. Reimann, M. Woerner, J. Herrmann, T. Elsaesser

    Physical Review Letters 105 (2010) 053903/1-4
  2. Femtosecond X-ray diffraction of nanolayered oxides

    von Korff Schmising, C., A. Harpoeth, N. Zhavoronkov, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, M. Bargheer, M. Schmidbauer, I. Vrejoiu, D. Hesse, M. Alexe

    Physics Procedia 3 (2010) 333-341
  3. Nonlinear terahertz studies of ultrafast quasiparticle dynamics in semiconductors

    M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser

    Dynamics at solid state surfaces and interfaces 1 (2010) 3-32
  4. Nonlinear terahertz spectroscopy

    M. Woerner, W. Kuehn, K. Reimann, T. Elsaesser, R. Hey

    SPIE Proceedings 7600 (2010) 76001T
  5. Femtosecond powder diffraction with a laser-driven hard X-ray source

    F. Zamponi, Z. Ansari, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser

    Optics Express 18 (2010) 947-961
  6. Concerted electron and proton transfer in ionic crystals mapped by femtosecond X-ray powder diffraction

    M. Woerner, F. Zamponi, Z. Ansari, J. Dreyer, B. Freyer, M. Prémont-Schwarz, T. Elsaesser

    Journal of Chemical Physics 133 (2010) 064509/1-8 (see also perspective by J. Miller, Physics Today, Vol. 63 (2010), 13-15)
  7. Femtosecond hard X-ray plasma sources with a kilohertz repetition rate

    F. Zamponi, Z. Ansari, von Korff Schmising, C., P. Rothhardt, N. Zhavoronkov, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, M. Bargheer, T. Trobitzsch-Ryll, M. Haschke

    Applied Physics A 96 (2009) 51-58
  8. Ultrafast structural dynamics of perovskite superlattices

    M. Woerner, von Korff Schmising, C., M. Bargheer, N. Zhavoronkov, I. Vrejoiu, D. Hesse, M. Alexe, T. Elsaesser

    Applied Physics A 96 (2009) 83-90
  9. Plasma photonics: Harnessing terahertz polarization

    M. Woerner, K. Reimann

    Nature Photonics 3 (2009) 495-496
  10. Nonlinear THz response of n-type GaAs

    M. Woerner, W. Kuehn, P. Gaal, K. Reimann, T. Elsaesser, R. Hey

    SPIE Proceedings 7214 (2009) 72140W/1-14