Thomas Elsaesser is a director at the Max-Born-Institute, Berlin, Germany, and a full professor for experimental physics at Humboldt University, Berlin. He received a Dr. rer. nat. degree from the Technical University of Munich in 1986 and worked there as a research associate until 1993. He spent a postdoc period at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, in 1990 and joined the newly established Max-Born-Institute in 1993. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and OSA.
Ultrafast processes in condensed matter represent the main area of research. Multidimensional vibrational spectroscopy of hydrogen bonds in liquids and macromolecules, ultrafast dynamics of low-energy excitations and nonlinear transport in semiconductors, and photoinduced structural dynamics in crystalline materials are the topics of present experimental work. Methods of ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy are applied in a range from the far-infrared to the extended ultraviolet and complemented by femtosecond x-ray diffraction to map transient structure and electron density.
In 2016, he received the Ellis R. Lippincott Award from OSA “for seminal contributions to the understanding of the ultrafast coherent and incoherent vibrational dynamics of hydrogen bonds in liquids and biomolecules.”