Vrakking, Prof. Dr. Marc

On March 1st 2010, Marc Vrakking was appointed new director of Division A of the Max Born Institute as the successor of Prof. Ingolf Hertel. Before that, he had been a group leader at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF) in Amsterdam. He got his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley (USA). He also worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Research Council (NRC) in Canada and prior to his PhD, performed research in Japan.

The main interest of Marc Vrakking is the use of ultrashort XUV pulses for the investigation of time-resolved dynamics in atoms, molecules and on surfaces, since chemical, biological and physical processes that determine the appearance of our world occur by means of atomic and electronic motions that evolve on ultrashort timescales. A chemical bond is formed or broken when the distance between two atoms changes by approximately 0,1 nm. Such a change occurs on a timescale of about 100 fs or faster. Purely electronic processes are often faster yet, and occur on timescales approaching the atomic unit of time (1 a.u. = 24 attoseconds). For example, an electron in a hydrogen atom takes about 405 attoseconds to orbit the nucleus.

With the help of very strong femtosecond lasers with wavelengths in the near-infrared, the dream of being able to observe atomic and electronic motions as in a movie is now coming true. With these pulses it is possible to make stroboscopic exposures that together constitute a movie of the time evolving system. With these lasers, it is possible to generate so-called high-harmonics in the extreme ultra-violet (XUV) to soft x-ray wavelength regions, in pulses that are only about 100 attoseconds long. With these pulses the motions of electrons in atoms and molecules can be visualized.

Prof. Dr. Marc Vrakking
Max-Born-Institut für Nichtlineare Optik und Kurzzeitspektroskopie im Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Max-Born-Str. 2 A
12489 Berlin, Germany
Telefon | Phone: +49 (0)30 6392-1200