Section Crystals for Photonics

Section Crystalline Materials for Photonics


The mission of the section Crystalline Materials for Photonics in the department Application Science is to innovate photonic and optical technologies by crystalline materials. Scientists have a strong connection to the crystal growth community to make use of innovations in crystalline materials for the respective technology developments in photonics and optics. Strong links to advanced materials characterization expertise is an important asset for success. To hand over high quality crystal solutions to optical component and system manufacturing companies, high precision preparation of optical crystals is a central requirement.

Research activities

The research is currently focused on crystals for active x-ray optics and laser materials. IKZ established a Joint Lab with the Helmholtz center DESY in Hamburg to closely interact with the requirements of the latest synchrotron and free electron laser generations to develop high performance x-ray optics. The Center for Laser Materials acts as (inter)national one-stop shop for laser crystals in the visible and infrared spectral range for academic as well as technology partners.

Head of Section

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schröder

Ph. +49 30 6392 3001



Center for Laser Materials

The Center for Laser Materials (ZLM) is dedicated to research on crystalline materials for optical applications. To this end we use our state-of-the art laser and spectroscopy laboratories as well as the interdisciplinary research infrastructure at the IKZ. In close collaboration with the research group ‘oxides & fluorides’ in the department ‘volume crystals’ the ZLM acts as a one-stop shop for optical crystals for laser applications, optical isolators and nonlinear frequency conversion.

Our main research interest lies on rare earth and transition metal doped oxide and fluoride crystals for new wavelength ranges or broader gain bandwidths for ultra-short pulse lasers. A further focus is on laser crystals with improved thermo-mechanical properties for efficient high-power lasers. We also investigate novel crystalline materials for other optical applications such as optical isolators and nonlinear frequency conversion.

Hiroki Tanaka, Christian Kränkel, Fumihiko Kannari
Transition-metal-doped saturable absorbers for passive Q-switching of visible lasers
Opt. Mat. Express 10 (8), 1827-1842 (2020)
DOI: 10.1364/OME.395893

Elena Castellano-Hernández, Sascha Kalusniak, Philip W. Metz, Christian Kränkel
Diode-pumped laser operation of Tb3+:LiLuF4 in the green and yellow spectral range
Laser Photon. Rev. 14 (2), 1900229 (2020)
DOI: 10.1002/lpor.201900229

Christian Kränkel, Daniel T. Marzahl, Francesca Moglia, Günter Huber, Philip W. Metz
Out of the blue: semiconductor laser pumped visible rare-earth doped lasers
Laser Photon. Rev. 10 (4), 548-568 (2016)
DOI: 10.1002/lpor.201500290


Dr. Christian Kränkel

Ph. +49 30 6392 3019


X-Ray Optics

The next generation of synchrotron radiation sources enables investigations on miniature length and time scales such as x-ray imaging of nanoscale integrated circuits or dynamics of individual nanoparticles. We develop optical components and methods to fully exploit the high precision of these new sources based on crystalline materials grown at IKZ. For that we foster interdisciplinary cooperation with scientists from various fields, e.g. materials science, physics and chemistry or biology.

We develop photo-/electroacoustic and nanomechanical optics to actively control hard x-ray beams. In addition we provide solutions to specific requirements such as high thermal loads. Our fundamental science interest is the impact of crystal lattice distortions on the electronic, optical or magnetic properties of a material. In particular we focus on order phenomena such as ferroelectricity or (anti-)ferromagnetism.

Mathias Sander, Marc Herzog, Jan-Etienne Pudell, Matias Bargheer, Roman Bauer, Valentin Besse, Vasily Temnov, Peter Gaal
Quantitative disentanglement of coherent and incoherent laser-induced surface deformations by time-resolved x-ray reflectivity
Applied Physics Letters
DOI: 10.1063/1.5004522

Mathias Sander, Roman Bauer, Victoria Kabanova, Matteo Levantino, Micahel Wulff, Daniel Pfuetzenreuter, Jutta Schwarzkopf, Peter Gaal
Demonstration of a picosecond Bragg switch for hard X-rays in a synchrotron-based pump-probe experiment
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation
DOI: 10.1107/S1600577519005356

Jan-Etienne Pudell, Mathias Sander, Roman Bauer, Matias Bargheer, Marc Herzog,
Peter Gaal
Full Spatiotemporal Control of Laser-Excited Periodic Surface Deformations
Physical Review Applied
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.12.024036


Dr. Peter Gaal

Ph. +49 30 6392 2858