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The Institute for Optics and Atomic Physics (IOAP) is one of only a few institutes of its type in Germany, conducting wide-ranging research into future technologies in the field of optics. This includes such themes as holographic laserphysics, nonlinear optics and electronmicroscopy as well as X-ray and laser spectroscopy of atomic processes in molecular systems and in condensed matter. Core interests of the institute include the interaction between light and matter, development of novel optical measurement processes over the smallest dimensions and the shortest times, as well as the applications of light in production, information, environment and society. Scientific problems include dynamical processes in isolated molecules and ions, in clusters, and in nanoparticles.
Central goals are the determination of geometric, optical, electronic and also chemical properties of these quantum systems, and their relevance to different areas of applications: environmental and atmospheric physics (traceanalysis, interstellar chemistry), combustion, catalysis, as well as semiconductor and biophysics.

Cooperation with the Laser-Medizin-Technik Berlin (LMTB), the Max-Born-Institut (MBI), the German electron synchrotron (DESY) and the Berlin electron synchrotron (BESSY) produces a unique expertise for the development of lasers into the future, utilising plasma, solid-state, or accelerator technology, and for their deployment in spectroscopy, material processing and medicine.

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