TUM – Technical University of Munich Menü

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Kienberger



Academic Career and Research Areas

The research area of professor Kienberger (b. 1971) is attosecond physics. Together with his team, he uses high-energy ultra-short laser pulses to create the shortest light pulses ever made. These are as short as 80 attoseconds. An attosecond is 10-18 of a second. In orders of magnitude the difference between an attosecond and a second is the same as the difference between a second and the age of the universe. With these short pulses the electronic processes in atoms, molecules and solid matter can be time-resolved. These findings show promise and are likely to lead to advances in molecular electronics, biophysics, photovoltaics and nanosystems.

Kienberger completed his first degree and earned his doctoral degree (2002) at Vienna University of Technology. A scholarship awarded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) enabled him to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory, USA (2004). Since 2006 he has headed a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching near Munich that he is a fellow of as well. Within the framework of the Excellence Initiative and the setting up of the Munich Center for Advanced Photonics (MAP) Excellence Cluster, in 2008 Professor Kienberger was appointed professor of experimental physics at TUM. Since 2013 he has held the chair of the Laser and X-ray Physics Department (E11). In March 2018 he was appointed to the University Council at the TU Graz. Kienberger's 105 publications have been quoted over 10,000 times, h-index 33 (2018).


  • Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications, European Physical Society (2016)
  • ERC Consolidator Grant (2014)
  • ICO Prize in Optics, International Comission for Optics (2010)
  • ERC Starting Grant (2008)
  • Sofja Kovalevskaja-Preis der Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (2006)

Key Publications (all publications)

Ossiander M, Riemensberger J, Neppl S, Mittermair M, Schäffer M, Duensing A, Wagner MS, Heider R, Wurzer M, Gerl M, Schnitzenbaumer M, Barth JV, Libisch F, Lemell C, Burgdörfer J, Feulner P, Kienberger R: „Absolute timing of the photoelectric effect”. Nature. 2018; 561: 374.

Neppl S, Ernstorfer R, Cavalieri AL, Lemell C, Wachter G, Magerl E, Bothschafter EM, Jobst M, Hofstetter M, Kleineberg U, Barth JV, Menzel D, Burgdörfer J, Feulner P, Krausz F, KienbergerR: „Direct observation of electron propagation and dielectric screening on the atomic length scale.” Nature. 2015; 517: 342-346.


Helml W, Maier AR, Schweinberger W, Grguraš I, Radcliffe P, Doumy G, Roedig C, Gagnon J, Messerschmidt M, Schorb S, Bostedt C, Grüner F, DiMauro LF, Cubaynes D, Bozek JD, Tschentscher T, Costello JT, Meyer M, Coffee R, Düsterer S, Cavalieri AL, Kienberger R: „Measuring the temporal structure of few-femtosecond free-electron laser X-ray pulses directly in the time domain”. Nature Photonics. 2014; 8: 950–957.


Wittmann T, Horvath B, Helml W, Schätzel MG, Gu X, Cavalieri AL, Paulus GG, Kienberger R: “Single-shot carrier-envelope phase measurement of few-cycle laser pulses”. Nature Physics. 2009; 5: 357-362.


Kienberger R, Goulielmakis E, Uiberacker M, Baltuska A, Yakovlev V, Bammer M, Scrinzi A, Westerwalbesloh T, Kleineberg U, Heinzmann U, Drescher M, Krausz F: "Atomic transient recorder". Nature. 2004; 427: 817-821.