Robin Santra is the leader of the theory group at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science at DESY. He is also a professor of physics at the University of Hamburg. One of his research interests focuses on the microscopic, quantum-mechanical characterization of the interaction of X-rays with atoms and molecules. The information obtained in this research is important for maximizing the utility of novel radiation sources such as X-ray free-electron lasers (FLASH at DESY and the European XFEL are examples). Of central interest is the exploration of novel techniques made possible by the extremely short X-ray pulse duration, and the extremely high intensity, offered by X-ray free-electron lasers. This involves, for instance, investigations of opportunities for directly observing and manipulating the motion of electrons in matter. Since electrons provide the glue that binds atoms together to form molecules, the ability to control electrons in matter could have revolutionary consequences for applications.

Academic career

Since 2010 Professor W 3 “Head of Theory Group”, Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, DESY and Department of Physics, University of Hamburg, Germany
2010 Physicist, Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Group, X-ray Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, USA
2008-2010 Associate Professor Part-time, Department of Physics, University of Chicago, USA
2007-2009 Physicist, Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Group, Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory, USA
2005-2007 Assistant Physicist, Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Group, Chemistry Division, Argonne National Laboratory, USA
2004-2005 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University USA
2002-2004 Postdoctoral Research Associate with Prof. C. H. Greene, JILA, University of Colorado, USA
2001-2002 Postdoctoral Research Associate with Prof. L. S. Cederbaum, Department of Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Germany
1998-2001 Dr. rer. nat. (degree is comparable to a Ph.D.), summa cum laude, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Adviser of Doctoral Thesis: Prof. L. S. Cederbaum. Title of Doctoral Thesis: Non-Hermitian Many-Particle Theory for Investigating Electronic Decay of Valence Holes in Clusters
1992-1998 Diploma in Physics (degree is comparable to a Master’s), with distinction, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Adviser of Diploma Thesis: Prof. K. P. Jungmann. Title of Diploma Thesis: Resonant Three-Photon Ionization of the Muonium Atom in Intense Pulsed Laser Fields