Andrea Cavalleri

  • Managing Director Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter
  • Professor of Physics (part time): University of Hamburg
  • Professor of Physics (part time): University of Oxford




Condensed Matter Department,
Max Planck Institute for the
Structure and Dynamics of Matter

c/o Desy, Bldg. 99, Rm. 02.079
Luruper Chaussee 149
22761 Hamburg, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)40 8998 5354
Fax: +49 (0)40 8998 1958

Department of Physics
University of Oxford
Clarendon Laboratory
Parks Rd. Oxford, OX1 3PU

Phone: +44 (0) 1865 2 72365
Fax: +44 (0) 1865 2 72367


Andrea Cavalleri was trained in Electrical Engineering and in Laser Physics at the Universities of Pavia (Italy) and Essen (Germany). He received a Laurea Degree and his PhD in 1994 and 1998, respectively.

Between 1998 and 2001 he was a Postdoc and then an Assistant Project Scientist at UC San Diego, working with K.R. Wilson. In the extraordinary setting of the Wilson group, Cavalleri and co-workers performed the first measurements of atomic-structural dynamics in solids femtosecond x-rays, developing the first hard x-ray pulse sources from Terawatt-laser plasmas. These experiments pioneered the field of ultrafast structural science, and lead to the first direct detection of coherent phonons and structural phase transitions in the solid state.

Between 2001 and 2005, he was at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he started working on the optical control of strongly correlated electron systems. He also started working on the combination of strong field THz sources to drive low frequency excitations, combining them with femtosecond x-ray probes.  In 2005, Cavalleri, Bob Schoenlein and co-workers demonstrated the first scientific application of sliced pulses of synchrotron radiation, measuring femtosecond NEXAFS in VO2 and femtosecond diffraction from coherent phonon polaritons in LiTaO3. For this work Cavalleri was awarded the David Shirley Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement at LBNL.

In 2004, Cavalleri was awarded the European Young Investigator Award from the European Science Foundation and joined the faculty of the University of Oxford. He was promoted to Professor of Physics in 2006.

As a faculty member at the University of Oxford, Cavalleri lead a small group of students and postdocs in the application of high intensity THz radiation to induce phase transitions in complex oxides, especially controlling the transition between insulating and metallic states in manganites and between striped and superconducting phases in High-Tc cuprates. He was also the initiator of the Time Resolved ARPES beamline at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, for which he secured funding, collaborated at the design and developed the first scientific applications. Cavalleri’s also group worked closely with Sarnjeet Dhesi at the Diamond Light Source, co-developing time resolved capabilities at the nanoscience beamline (I06).

In July 2008 Andrea Cavalleri became a Professor of Physics at the University of Hamburg, and was the first director of the Max Planck Research Department for Structural Dynamics. Between 2008 and 2013, he built a new research group engaged in experiments that range from nonlinear THz methods to time resolved ARPES. Cavalleri’s group is also a frequent user of the LCLS Free Electron Laser (Stanford), the FELBE THz Free Electron Laser (Dresden) and the Diamond Light Source (Oxfordshire).

Since 2013, Cavalleri is serving as founding and managing director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter.

The condensed matter department at the MPSD, which is directed by Cavalleri, is now composed of five independent PIs and several staff scientists.

Among recent distinctions, Cavalleri was named a fellow of the American Physical Society, was the 2012 Angstroem Lecturer at Uppsala University and received a 2013 ERC Synergy grant.