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Ultrafast Physics 2

Module PH2159

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2018

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021WS 2019/20SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2012

Basic Information

PH2159 is a semester module in German or English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This module description is valid to SS 2019.

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 30 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2159 in the version of SS 2018 was Reinhard Kienberger.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Sources and methods of ultrafast physics will be introduced:

  • ultrashort pulse lasers in the visible, UV and IR
  • amplification, manipulation and full characterization of ultrashort light pulses
  • generation of high-order harmonics in the extreme ultraviolet regime and attosecond pulses
  • synchrotrons and free electron lasers
  • ultrafast spectroscopy, pump/probe methods, attosecond techniques

applications of ultrafast physics will be discussed

  • electron dynamics in gases, molecules, solids and layered surface systems
  • ultrafast dynamics in water, molecular systems and dyes

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of the module the students are able to

  • know and describe the sources of ultrashort laser pulses
  • evaluate and distinguish the different methods for the characterization of ultrashort laser pulses
  • understand the methods of femtosecond and attosecond spectroscopy
  • know the working principle and the applications of free-electron lasers
  • know the applications of attosecond spectroscopy and to be able to understand recent publications in this field of science


Enrollment requirements in masters course, Lecture Ultrafast Physics 1

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the thematically structured lecture, the theoretical basics are presented in form of an oral talk and the corresponding experimental techniques are outlined using descriptive examples. In the lecture and the according notes, examples for original publications are given, which serve to guide the students to deepen the contents learned as wells as to promote further literature work. A direct demonstration of the contents learned is offered in form of visits at the laboratories of the chair of laser and x-ray physics at the end of the lecture and an excursion to a large scale scientific facility.


Oral presentation, PowerPoint slides (especially figures), blackboard writing for the derivation of equations.


Saleh, Teich: Fundamentals of Photonics.

Reider: Photonik

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 30 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and sample calculations.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Explain the working principle of the chirped pulse amplification (CPA) method for the generation of highly intense, ultrashort laser pulses.
  • What pulse energy of a 5 fs pulse do you need to obtain 10^15 W/cm^2 at a focus of 200 um?
  • What are the differences, advantages and disadvantages of the modern pulse characterization techniques intensity autocorrelation, FROG and SPIDER?
  • Explain the process of high-harmonic generation using the semiclassical 3-step model.
  • How can isolated attosecond pulses be produced? How broad does the reflectivity spectrum of an XUV mirror (100 eV) have to be to support a pulse duration of 200 as?

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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