Dr. Hani Fattahi now has her own independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. She also leads her MINERVA research group affiliated to the LAP-team.In our Alumni-interview she speaks about what brought her to lasersciences and her research plans for the future.


How did you end up in the laser physics field?

I had a physics teacher at high school who I really adored. She used examples of daily life to teach us physics. I still remember very clearly that to teach us the concept of “wave propagation” she described how fashion propagates in society! That made me interested in Physics and waves. At university I was attracted to photonics, as light is the perfect tool to explore and communicate with the outer and inner universe. Matter speaks to us by absorption, emission or scattering of light. Light is the language of matter! And why not to learn it.

What are you most interested in in your field of research?

I enjoy the process of having a Gedankenexperiment, developing it in the head and the challenge of realizing it on the optical table. It is always just easy on the paper! I also equally enjoy spending time with young students and see them growing and become mature scientifically. It’s an unparalleled experience. especially when I see them at their final stages of their study, dressed up, giving a talk in a conference or defending their thesis.


What kind of research do you plan to pursue in the future?

We are currently exploring the potential of petahertz field detection for biological imaging. It is an out of box idea, holding promise for high-resolution, label-free microscopy. And we hope to use the envisioned microscope to image the activities of neurons by looking at neurotransmitters.

How do you envision the development of your research?

Science is hard to predict and is full of surprises. We have a rigid and detailed plan for the next few years but we are open to better ideas and will evolve accordingly.


How do you imagine the world in 100 years?

AI everywhere! Currently the technology gap between two consecutive generations is getting bigger and the form of our life and societies are changing very fast. I enjoy the picture presented by the famous historian Yuval Noah Harari in his book Homo Deus. Maybe a little bit less intense but in my opinion, his vision is in the right direction.

And what role will play light-technologies then?

Communication and information transfer! As I said, Light is the language of matter!