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Listening to and watching quantum systems: Thomas Pfeifer new director at the MPIK

28.04.2014 - (idw) Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik

From May head of the division Quantum Dynamics and Control

Dr. Thomas Pfeifer has accepted the position as Scientific Member and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. Scientifically, the new division focuses on the fundamental quantum dynamics of small systems (atoms, molecules, ions, nuclei) and their interaction and control by strong fields. Thomas Pfeifers division Quantum Dynamics and Control combines the scientific expertise of his present Max Planck research group and of the former division Ullrich. Precise, in part time-resolved on shortest scales, spectroscopic (listen) and imaging (watch) experimental methods serve as tools. Thomas Pfeifer and his coworkers are looking for answers to fundamental questions: What happens, when basic interaction processes like, e.g., the absorption and emission of light, ionization or the cleavage of molecular bonds are selectively modified as a function of time? When turns quantum mechanical interference to classical probability? How and how fast is matter changing under the influence of laser fields? Can we use the insights to steer chemistry with lasers? What can we learn from the combination of precision spectroscopy, highest time resolution and intense fields? Is it possible to find novel, more intuitive views onto quantum dynamics on the transition between frequency and time representation?

Thomas Pfeifer studied physics at the University of Würzburg, Germany and the University of Texas in Austin, USA, finished his PhD in 2004 again in Würzburg, before he accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of California in Berkeley. Since 2009, he has been head of an independent Max Planck Research Group at the MPIK, emerging from an international, thematically open competition. Recently, he won a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council with his project X-MUSIC and in 2013 he was awarded the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Preis, the most important prize for young scientists in Germany. In addition, he is teaching at the University of Heidelberg.

Contact: Dr. Thomas Pfeifer, phone +496221 516380, thomas.pfeifer@mpi-hd.mpg.de
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