17 May 1962 in Mór, Hungary
Married, Two Children

Director at MPQ
Chair of Experimental Physics at LMU

Studied Electrical Engineering and
Theoretical Physics (Budapest)
PhD in Laser Physics (Vienna)

Field of Research:
Laser Science and Technology,
Attosecond Physics

Next appearances

  • Schnellste Vorgänge im Mikrokosmos
    12 September 2018, 19:00 pm

    Graz, Austria

Ferenc Krausz, director at Max-Planck-Institut for Quantum Optics, chair of experimental physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

Ferenc Krausz grew up in Mór, a small town in the west of Hungary. Already at high school he developed a passion for the electrons running back and forth between the ends of the 15?m-long radio antenna wired to his self-built radio, just as for solving the physics problems published monthly in KöMaL (Középiskolai Matematika és Fizikai Lapok).


These passions led him to study Electrical Engineering and Physics in Budapest, where he became fascinated by ultrahigh-frequency »radio antennas« – lasers. This fascination was deepened during his PhD studies and subsequent years spent in Vienna under the guidance of Prof. Arnold

Schmidt, directing his attention to the generation and application of ever-shorter flashes of laser light, onto a path he has been pursuing ever since. The 17 memorable years in Vienna culminated in the birth of his two daughters, Anita and Martina, and in the generation and measurement of the first attosecond pulses in 2001. Three years later he joined the MPQ and the LMU in Munich, Germany, which offered him unparalleled opportunities for advancing the field he started in Vienna.


His research has been motivated by curiosity and fascination with phenomena that occur within the smallest dimensions of space and time, yet have a

profound impact on our lives: electrons moving inside molecules and nano-circuits, furnishing us with the capability of vision, and making computers work. His passion for capturing electrons is now extending to using ultrashort-pulsed light for the early detection of cancer. Thanks to the immeasurable support of his wife, Angela, he can be fully devoted to his job. New discoveries still make him feel happy like a child, as they have done from the very beginning, but what he is most proud of are the wonderful colleagues that have chosen to work with him. This website came into being — not least — to pay tribute to them.

My Voyage

1962—1981 Mór, Hungary
Mór, Hungary
Born in Mór, Hungary
Attended high school at Táncsics Mihály Gimnázium, Mór, Hungary
Member of the Hungarian team at the International Physics Competition in Helsinki, Finland
1981—1987 Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary
Studied Electrical Engineering at Budapest University of Technology and Theoretical Physics at Eötvös Loránd University
First encounter with lasers at the Physics Institute at Budapest University of Technology
A phone call from Prof. Arnold Schmidt inviting Ferenc to join his research group at Vienna University of Technology
1987—2003 Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria
Moved to Vienna
PhD defense in Laser Physics at Vienna University of Technology
Habilitation in Laser Physics at Vienna University of Technology
Appointed Full Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Vienna University of Technology
Observed the first isolated attosecond light pulse with Reinhard Kienberger and Michael Hentschel
Appointed Director at the Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik (MPQ) in Garching, Germany
2003—2017 Munich, Germany
Munich, Germany
Co-founded Femtolasers GmbH in Vienna, a company specialized in lasers producing ultra-short pulses with a duration of a few femtoseconds
Moved to Germany
Chair of Experimental Physics (Laser Physics) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich, Germany
Establishment of the joint LMU-MPQ Laboratory of Attosecond Physics
Initiated and established the Munich Centre for Advanced Photonics (MAP), the Cluster of Excellence in Laser Science
Initiated the Centre for Advanced Laser Applications (CALA), a research centre specializing in medical applications of lasers (Director of CALA since 2015)
Initiated UltraFast Innovations (UFI) GmbH, a joint LMU-MPG company serving the laser community with the know-how of his group
Initiated and co-founded Trumph Scientific Lasers, a Munich-based company specializing in third-generation femtosecond technology


Ferenc’s research is guided by some grand questions and goals, requiring extension of the frontiers of femtosecond and attosecond science (for more details please visit attoworld.de).

Focus on Physics

Electrons in motion: How do electronic motions in chemical bonds initiate fundamental biological processes in living organisms? Can these processes, most of which are vital and some of which are life-threatening, be captured, visualized, and understood by attosecond diffraction imaging?

Electric current is being switched on and off within a fraction of a nanosecond in contemporary signal processing. Can electrons be controlled a hundred thousand times faster, without excessive heat development, in light-driven, solid-state structures, in order to enable light wave electronics?

The controlled electric force of multi-octave (visible-infrared) light transients show potential for the generation of attosecond X-ray pulses, providing real-time insight into motions in complex systems, and …

… for exploring the ultimate frontiers of solid-state electronics and the routes to advancing signal processing from microwave to light wave frequencies.

Focus on Medicine

Early cancer detection with lasers: Molecular constituents and products of cancerous cells enter the body’s circulation at an early stage of tumor development, well before metastases emerge. Can low concentrations of such cancer markers be reliably detected in blood and/or breath by femtosecond molecular vibrational spectroscopy, for early detection and subsequent therapy monitoring?

Femtosecond pulses of multi-octave infrared light and complete waveform measurements show potential for sensing molecules via their vibrational “fingerprint” at unprecedented concentration levels, which could open the door for early cancer detection.


  • broadband infrared diagnostics
  • high-repetition-rate femtosecond sources
  • atomic and electronic motion in 4D
  • exploring the frontiers of electronics
  • next-generation source of few-cycle light
  • chirped multilayer optics
  • insights into attosecond phenomena
Project Leaders
Alexander Apolonskiy
Mihaela Zigman
At the crossroads of laser physics and cancer biology we apply a powerful multi-octave femtosecond infrared source along with novel metrologies for vibrational spectroscopy, developed by the teams of Oleg Pronin and Ioachim Pupeza, with the aim to quantitatively define unique absorptional ›fingerprints‹ of organic components or metabolites of living cells. Molecular constituents and products of cancerous cells are expected to differ significantly from those of normal cells, offering a means of detecting the disease by means of their infrared vibrational fingerprints. We shall use the novel techniques both for biological studies on genetically-triggered oncogenesis as well as, in a non-invasive fashion, for analyzing primary human material directly derived from cancerous patients in international clinical trials.
Project Leaders
Oleg Pronin
Ioachim Pupeza
We develop multi-MHz-rate infrared femtosecond sources with average powers ranging from several hundred watts (from diode-pumped, disk laser oscillators, O. Pronin and his team) to several hundred kilowatts (inside buildup cavities, I. Pupeza and his team) along with related instrumentation. They will be used for generating powerful coherent ultrashort-pulsed light from the infrared to extreme ultraviolet for applications ranging from attosecond spectroscopy and photoelectron emission microscopy to molecular fingerprinting for early cancer detection.
Project Leader
Peter Baum
How do electrons alter their position in atomic dimensions? We use pulses of single electrons driven by novel sources of femtosecond light to visualize these motions with picometer resolution in space and femtosecond-to-(ultimately)-attosecond resolution in time. Ultrafast diffraction holds promise for providing insight into complex processes and complex structures.
Project Leaders
Nicholas Karpowicz
Martin Schultze
Response of the electronic system of solids to ultrafast excitation carries pivotal information about the ultimate speed limit of electronic signal processing and metrology. We study the interaction of solids with controlled few-cycle light fields. They can apply electric fields to materials strong enough to change their electronic structure without causing them to break down, as longer pulses would. With the insight gained from attosecond time-resolved experiments, we aim to exploit the emerging highly nonlinear phenomena for advancing solid-state metrology and signal processing to light frequencies.
Project Leaders
Thomas Nubbemeyer
Hanieh Fattahi
We develop a novel light source, LWS-pro, to produce controlled waveforms of IR/VIS light with unprecedented characteristics: multi-octave bandwidth, multi-terawatt peak power at multi-kHz repetition rates. Using the techniques explored with LWS-20, LWS-pro holds promise for attosecond pump-probe spectroscopy and attosecond X-ray diffraction coming of age. These prospects deserved a new home: the LMU Laboratory for Extreme (LEX) Photonics.
Project Leader
Volodymyr Pervak
Chirped mirrors have played a pivotal role in pushing the frontiers of ultrafast technology ever since their discovery in 1993. They allowed the pulse duration to approach the period of the carrier wave and, more recently, shaping of the waveform within the wave cycle and the synthesis of sub-cycle light transients. We continue to advance this technology , for pushing the frontiers of attosecond science as well as infrared technologies.
Project Leader
Vladislav Yakovlev
Even though light-matter interaction has been studied for decades, progress in experimental science repeatedly yields puzzling findings that challenge existing theoretical descriptions. This motivates us to develop improved or new theoretical tools and models for deciphering relevant cutting-edge experiments and describing light-induced electron phenomena, with particular emphasis on those in solids.


  • Mentors
  • Co-workers
  • Former Co-workers
  • Collaborators

Abdallah Azzeer

Initiated the first attosecond laboratory in the Arabic world and a new collaboration with Ferenc’s group aiming at the use of infrared lasers for early cancer detection

Alexander Apolonskiy

Measured the evolution of the carrier-envelope phase in a mode-locked laser for the first time, develops femtosecond infrared techniques for medical applications

Andreas Stingl

Demonstrated the first femtosecond laser using chirped mirrors for dispersion control and advanced this laser to the #1 femtosecond titanium-sapphire oscillator of the world (Rainbow)

Andrius Baltuska

Generated the first controlled light waveforms (in Vienna) and initial efforts towards their optical parametric amplification (in Garching); explores attosecond phenomena with mid-infrared light

Arnold Schmidt

His long-standing mentorship and guidance at the Vienna University of Technology had the greatest impact on Ferenc’s scientific career.

Christian Spielmann

Pioneered the generation of few-cycle pulses and their use for XUV continuum generation as a forerunner for isolated attosecond pulse generation

Eleftherios Goulielmakis

Measured light-field oscillations and synthesized sub-fs optical transients for the first time; uses them for attosecond control of ionization and bound electron dynamics

György Marx

His unforgettable basic courses in physics at Eötvös Lóránd University fundamentally shaped Ferenc’s insight into the way physics can help us understand the working of nature.

© Magyar Tudomány 48. évf. 4. sz. (2003. április)

Hanieh Fattahi

Conceived and tested the basic concepts, system components, and architecture of third-generation femtosecond technology; pursues its proof-of-principle demonstration

Ioachim Pupeza

Demonstrated ultrahigh-average-power (>100 kW) fs pulses, advanced coherent XUV and MIR sources to unprecedented performance levels; develops a novel MIR fs spectroscopy technique

Joachim Burgdörfer

Pioneered theoretical modelling of attosecond electron processes, including, among others, a delay in photoemission

József Bakos

Ferenc’s diploma thesis work on picosecond laser pulse measurement, supervised by Prof. Bakos and his coworker Dr. Tibor Juhász at the Budapest University of Technology, granted Ferenc his first encounters with lasers in 1985.

Julia Mikhailova

Explored (theoretically and experimentally) novel routes to generating powerful attosecond pulses from relativistic interaction

Károly Simonyi

His illuminating lectures on electromagnetism and electron physics at Budapest University of Technology made Ferenc decide to devote his life to research on electrons and light.

László Veisz

Developed the world’s most powerful few-cycle source, uses it for laser-plasma electron acceleration and high-energy attosecond pulse generation

Mark Stockman

Pioneered modelling collective electron dynamics in nanostructures and strong-field processes in dielectrics, both being in the focus of studies at LAP

Markus Drescher

Performed the first attosecond spectroscopy experiment in the Vienna laboratory

Martin Schultze

Observed a delay in atomic photoemission and bandgap dynamics in Si, both on the attoseond scale; explores strong-field processes in solids with attosecond spectroscopy

Matthias Kling

Demonstrated attosecond electron control in a molecule for the first time and pioneered attosecond nanoplasmonics; explores collective electron phenomena in nanoscopic systems

Matthias Uiberacker

Led the development of the prototype of second-generation attosecond beamlines (AS-1@ MPQ) and used it for real-time observation of electron tunneling

Michael Hentschel

Performed, together with Reinhard Kienberger, the first measurement of an isolated sub-femtosecond pulse

Mihaela Žigman

Employed genetic, molecular and microscopy tools to study how cells divide and become different from each other by cell polarization in diverse animal model systems in vivo. Currently tackles molecular mechanisms of cancerous growth by broadband infrared spectroscopy.

Nicholas Karpowicz

Advanced electro-optic sampling to telecommunication frequencies; uses sub-femtosecond light-field-driven currents for exploring strong-field phenomena in wide-gap solids

Oleg Pronin

Pioneered high-power fs Yb:YAG thin-disk oscillators, demonstrated their Kerr-lens mode-locking and carrier-envelope-phase stabilization; extends the technology to the mid-IR

Paul Corkum

Proposed the concept behind the attosecond streak camera, which was demonstrated in Ferenc's laboratory in Vienna at the turn of the millennium.

© National Research Council Photograph

Peter Baum

Pushed the frontiers of ultrafast electron diffraction to the time scale of molecular vibrations (< 30fs); advances it with an all-optical THz technique, further towards the 1-fs frontier; studies the atomic-scale foundations of light-matter interaction

Reinhard Kienberger

Generated and measured the first subfemtosecond pulse, demonstrated the first attosecond streak camera, measured first sub-femtosecond X-ray FEL pulses; explores attosecond electron transport in solids

Stefan Karsch

Advanced laser-plasma-wake-field electron acceleration beyond the GeV frontier and used it for laser-driven brilliant X-ray generation; develops the first petawatt-scale few-cycle source

Theodor Hänsch

His self-referencing technique for frequency-comb stabilization played a central role in the generation of the first waveform-controlled light in Vienna in 2003

Thomas Brabec

Pioneered theoretical studies on few-cycle pulse generation from solid-state lasers and their use for strong-field interactions (in Vienna); studies attosecond and strong-field processes in condensed matter

Thomas Metzger

Developed a novel high-power sub-picosecond thin-disk laser technology, which now serves as a basis for third-generation femtosecond technology

Ulf Kleineberg

Developed the first XUV multilayer optics for the isolation of a single attosecond pulse and, later, for compensating its chirp (first in Vienna and later at LAP)

Ulrich Heinzmann

His group prepared the instrumentation (time-of-flight spectrometer and XUV multilayer optics) for the first attosecond measurements (performed in Vienna at the turn of the millennium)

Vladislav Yakovlev

Developed powerful theoretical methods for accessing microscopic motions in attosecond measurements; studies theoretical femtosecond-attosecond strong-field phenomena in solids

Volodymyr Pervak

Has been pushing the frontiers of broadband dispersive multilayer optical technology towards broader (> octave) bandwidth and into new (UV, IR) wavelength ranges

Zsuzsanna Major

Made seminal contributions to devising third-generation fs technology and to creating the first petawatt-scale few-cycle laser; will use it for high-energy attosecond pulse generation


  • Next appearances
  • Videos
  • Interviews
  • Lectures

Schnellste Vorgänge im Mikrokosmos:
68th Annual Meeting of the Austrian Physical Society

12 September 2018, 07:00 pm

Graz, Austria