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. Terahertz driven amplification of coherent optical phonons in GaAs coupled to a metasurface

    M. Woerner, C. Somma, K. Reimann, T. Elsaesser, P. Q. Liu, Y. Yang, J. L. Reno, I. Brener

    Physical Review Letters 122 (2019) 107402/1-6
  2. Recent advances in ultrafast X-ray sources

    R. Schoenlein, T. Elsaesser, K. Holldack, Z. Huang, H. Kapteyn, M. Murname, M. Woerner

    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 377 (2019) 20180384/1-37
  3. Impact of piezoelectric fields on coherent zone-folded phonons in GaAs/AlAs superlattices

    F. Mahler, K. Reimann, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, C. Flytzanis, K. Biermann

    Physical Review B 100 (2019) 121302(R)/1-6
  4. Resonant second-order nonlinear terahertz response of gallium arsenide

    A. Ghalgaoui, K. Reimann, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, C. Flytzanis, K. Biermann

    Physical Review Letters 121 (2018) 266602/1-6
  5. Multidimensional terahertz spectroscopy

    M. Woerner, K. Reimann, T. Elsaesser

    Encyclopedia of Modern Optics, 2nd ed., vol. 2 Elsevier (2018) 197-206
  6. Ultrafast carrier dynamics in a GaN/Al0.18 Ga0.82 N superlattice

    F. Mahler, J. W. Tomm, K. Reimann, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, C. Flytzanis, V. Hoffmann, M. Weyers

    Physical Review B 97 (2018) 161303/1-5
  7. Macroscopic electric polarization and microscopic electron dynamics: Quantitative insight from femtosecond x-ray diffraction

    C. Hauf, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser

    Physical Review B 98 (2018) 054306/1-12
  8. Soft-mode driven polarity reversal in ferroelectrics mapped by ultrafast x-ray diffraction

    C. Hauf, A.-A. Hernández Salvador, M. Holtz, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser

    Structural Dynamics 5 (2018) 024501/1-11
  9. Water librations in the hydration shell of phospholipids

    G. Folpini, T. Siebert, M. Woerner, S. Abel, D. Laage, T. Elsaesser

    Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 8 (2017) 4492-4497
  10. Strong local-field enhancement of the nonlinear soft-mode response in a molecular crystal

    G. Folpini, K. Reimann, M. Woerner, T. Elsaesser, J. Hoja, A. Tkatchenko

    Physical Review Letters 119 (2017) 097404/1-6