Professor, Institut of Physics and Astronomy
University of Potsdam

Director, Institute for Methods and Instrumentation in
Synchrotron Radiation Research
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH,


Short Bio
I head the Institute Methods and Instrumentation for Research with Synchrotron Radiation at the Helmholtz Center Berlin and I am Professor at the Institute of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Potsdam. After studying physics at the Universities of Tübingen, Stony Brook and Hamburg, I spent a research period at the Advanced Light Source of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and earned my PhD at Uppsala University, followed by the habilitation at the University of Hamburg. My fascination for light-matter interaction is a constant: Diploma thesis on X-ray microscopy, dissertation on X-ray spectroscopy, habilitation on ultra-fast X-ray physics. Next to research and academia, I serve as expert reviewer, panelist for the Helmholtz-Association such as the think tank of the Helmholtz President, or scientific advisory committees i.e. the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source.

My aim is to establish governing principles of functionality in materials and molecules. I identify what makes a functional material efficient or how to influence (photo)chemical reaction steps in rate and selectivity where the structure and dynamics of water plays often a crucial role. With the support of the Helmholtz Association, the European Research Council, the DFG and the BMBF, I established with my national and international scientific partners the “Uppsala-Berlin joint Laboratory on next generation electron spectroscopy” at BESSY II, the world leading XUV and soft X-ray instruments for resonant inelastic X-ray scattering at BESSY II.  I also initiated and completed the “Heisenberg-RIXS facility for resonant inelastic X-ray scattering at the transform limit” at European XFEL and organized the underlying international users consortium. A fruitful interaction with theoretical working groups is maintained. All infrastructures have the purpose to serve the wider research community in user operation.

Group Members