Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Dekorsy, Director
Prof. Dekorsy is heading the Institute of Technical Physics of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) since July 2016. He is also affiliated as professor at Stuttgart University in the Faculty for Aerospace Engineering and Geodesy and a member of the Stuttgart Research Center of Photonic Engineering (SCoPE). His scientific interest lies in the development of new laser systems in the area of aerospace, security and defense, and the education of young academics in these fields.
Dekorsy was born in Jülich, Germany, in 1965. He graduated in Physics at the RWTH Aachen in 1992. He received his Ph.D. from the RWTH Aachen in 1996 which was performed at the Institute of Semiconductor Electronics under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Heinrich Kurz. The subject of the Ph.D. was ultrafast processes in semiconductor quantum structures investigated by femtosecond lasers. A highlight of the thesis was the first observation of tunable electronic quantum coherence in semiconductor superlattices (Bloch oscillations) at room temperature. From 1997 until 2000 he was assistant professor (Oberingenieur) at the Institute of Semiconductor Electronics, where he headed research groups on laser development, time-resolved spectroscopy and self-organized formation of nanostructures. The discovery of a new process for the formation of self-organized nanostructures on large areas by ion-beam sputtering was awarded with the Bennigsen-Foerder Award of the state North-Rhine Westphalia in 2000. In 2001 he received the Gustav-Herz Award of the German Physical Society for the investigation of quantum coherence in semiconductors. In1999 he co-founded Gigaoptics GmbH. Gigaoptics (now Laser Quantum GmbH) provides femtosecond laser at GHz repetition rates which e.g. were employed in Prof. Theodor Hänsch’s Nobel price winning experiment on frequency combs.
From 2000 to 2004 Dekorsy was division head at the Helmholtz Research Center Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). He headed the spectroscopy division within the Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research (Director Prof. Manfred Helm). Here he built up spectroscopy laboratories for the free-electron laser FELBE, performed work on electrical driven light emission from silicon dioxide, efficient large area Terahertz emitters, and quantum cascade lasers. The invention of a large area scalable Terahertz emitter (TERA-SED) was awarded with the technology award of the HZDR in 2006.
From 2004 to 2016 Dekorsy was full professor the Konstanz University. He was deputy director of the Center of Applied Photonics (CAP). His group developed new laser sources and applications of these lasers in spectroscopy. He developed the method of high-speed asynchronous optical sampling (high-speed ASOPS) with coupled femtosecond lasers at GHz repetition rates, a time-domain analogue of dual-comb spectroscopy. A new class of large area Terahertz emitters based on the photo-Dember effect was invented. In cooperation with Trumpf Laser ultrafast thin-disk oscillators with high average power were realized based on the concept of an active multi-pass cell. Dekorsy was Dean of Studies (transformation of the Diploma system to Bachelors/Master system) and Dean. In 2011 he received the award of the University Council for the project “Schülerinnen forschen” which included organization of science camps at Lake Constance for girls aged 13-16. In 2016 he received the award of the Student Council Physics for excellent teaching. In 2019 he was elected as Fellow of the Optical Society of America.
Dekorsy is a member of program committees of several international conferences and summer schools, including CLEO-Europe and the Laser Applications Conference (LAC).He has authored over 250 scientific publications and 10 patents in the field of laser physics and spectroscopy. He is a member of the Think Tank of the Helmholtz Association, the Cooperation Council of the University of Stuttgart and the scientific advisory boards of the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf as well as of the DESY/EU-XFEL Hamburg. He is a member of the DGP, DGaO, Optica (Fellow der Class 2020), DGLR, DWT and the DHV.