Professor Ferenc Krausz was born on May 17, 1962 in Mór, Hungary. He studied theoretical physics at Eötvös Loránd University and electrical engineering at Budapest University of Technology in Budapest, Hungary, receiving his Diploma in Electrical Engineering with Distinction in 1985. He pursued Ph.D. studies in Quantum Electronics at the Institute of Physics in Budapest University of Technology (1985-1987) and the Department of Electrical Engineering at Vienna University of Technology (VUT) in Vienna, Austria (1988-1991) where he also spend the following two years as a post-doctoral fellow, obtaining his Habilitation with distinction from the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1993. He joined the same institute as assistant professor, from 1996-1998, and rose to full professorship in 1999. In 2000, he became Director of the “Center for Advanced Light Sources” In 2003, he was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, where he leads the “Attosecond Physics” Division, and in 2004 he became chair of experimental physics at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich. In 2006, he co-founded the Munich-Centre of Advanced Photonics and became one of its directors. He is currently Chair of Experimental Physics at LMU in Munchen and Director of Max-Plank Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany.
Professor Krausz’s main fields of research include: ultrashort-pulse laser technology, high-field physics and attosecond physics. His other fields of interest include nonlinear optics, atomic physics, plasma physics and x-ray physics. Krausz and his team generated and measured the first attosecond light pulse and used it for capturing electrons’ motion inside atoms at incredibly fast speed (1 attosecond is a billionth of a billionth of second). This is considered by Nature and Science magazines to be one of the ten greatest achievements in all areas of science.
Professor Krausz is a citizen of both Hungary and Austria. He is the recipient of the highest honors in science from Austria and Germany, namely the Wittgenstein Award in Austria (2002) and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Germany (2006). He is also the recipient of many other prestigious awards, including the Fritz Kohlrausch Award of the Austrian Physical Society (1994); the START Award of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Education (1996); Carl Zeiss Award of the Ernst Abbe Foundation, Germany (1998); the Julius Springer Award in Applied Physics, Springer, Germany (2003); the IEEE/LEOS Quantum Electronics Award, USA (2006); the British “Progress Medal” of the Royal Photographic Society (2006) and the order of merit “Verdienstkreuz am Bande” (order of merit) of the Federal Republic of Germany (2011). He was also awarded Honorary Professorship at the Vienna Technical University (2005) and Honorary Doctorate Degree at the Technical University Budapest (2005).
Professor Krausz is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg (Austria) and the Academia Europaea and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Ferenc Krausz and Paul B. Corkum were recognized for their independent pioneering work which has made it possible to capture the incredibly fast motion of electrons in atoms and molecules in a “movie” with a time resolution down to attoseconds. An attosecond is a vanishingly short time. One attosecond compared to one second is like one second compared to the age of the Universe.
When intense ultra-short laser pulses are focused into a gas, a laser-like beam of attosecond pulses of ultraviolet light is produced.
Professor Krausz has developed powerful techniques for generating intense, tailored, waveforms of laser light, and he has applied these tools for observing and controlling the motion of electrons on a time scale of attoseconds to femtoseconds. His group was the first to generate single ultraviolet pulses with a duration as short as 80 attoseconds.