Prof. Mark Stockman, close collaborator of our LAP team and associated researcher with the Munich Center of Advanced Photonics, passed away on Nov. 11th 2020, aged 73. He was the director of the Center for NanoOptics (CeNO), and physics and Regents’ professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Mark Stockman was a pioneer in plasmonics and nanooptics. He has been one of the most inspiring theoreticians in the fields of theoretical nano- and ultrafast optics.

Mark joined our LAP team in January 2007. Within the one month that he spent at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) at the time, he worked out a proposal for attosecond nanoplasmonic microscopy. The visionary concept has set the stage for interactions with many interested researchers. His work initiated a wealth of studies on probing plasmons and other electronic excitations in nanostructures with attosecond spectroscopies. He largely contributed to the formation of a new community in attosecond and strong-field nanophysics.

Mark became a regular visitor of LAP and his visits included two extended sabbaticals in 2009 and 2013, where he held visiting professorships at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU). “Mark became a close friend over the years, and an important mentor. He influenced my way of thinking. He motivated me to try solving big problems. Our close and frequent interaction, which also included very memorable skiing trips to the Alps, has sparked many research projects and resulted in numerous joint works.”, recalls Prof. Matthias Kling, who interacted with Mark from the very beginning. He adds: “I absolutely loved talking to Mark! He was so passionate about almost everything, foremost about science. He was never short of a captivating story.”

In vivid discussions during his visits at LAP, Mark became curious about experimental observations at LAP of dielectrics in strong laser fields. Searching for a possible interpretation of the results, he developed his revolutionary concept and basic theory for the semi-metallization of solids in strong fields. This ground-breaking idea has stimulated a wealth of strong-field studies on solids. It is a cornerstone of petahertz optoelectronics, which holds the promise to revolutionize electronics by an increase of information processing frequencies to the ultimate limit given only by the speed of light.

“Mark's passion for exploring new effects and understanding the underlying physics always fascinated me, his intuition and insight into strong-field interactions and outstanding ability to model complex phenomena have had a great deal of impact on our attosecond experiments and their interpretation ever since his first visit at MPQ in 2007.”, remembers Ferenc Krausz.

Mark Stockman’s stimulation of new research directions in ultrafast and strong-field science has provided and will continues to provide a strong inspiration for research at LAP and a steadily growing community in these areas. He left a large legacy and will be remembered.

Thorsten Naeser, with Matthias Kling and Ferenc Krausz.