Short CV/Education and training

  • 1984
    Diplom degree in physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland

  • 1984 – 1985
    Visiting researcher, Physics Department at Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, Scotland

    1985 – 1989
    Research assistant, Department of Applied Physics, Stanford University, USA

  • 1987
    Master's degree in applied physics, Stanford University

  • 1989
    PhD in applied physics, Stanford University

  • 1989 – 1993
    Research project manager, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, NJ, USA

  • Since 1993
    Professor, Department of Physics, Ultrafast Laser Physics Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  • 1997
    Birth of a son

  • 1998
    Birth of a son

  • 2001
    Visiting professor, Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University, Sweden

  • 2006
    Visiting professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA

  • 2010-2022 Director of the NCCR MUST (Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology), Swiss National Centre of Competence for Research

Selected publications

  • U. Keller: Ultrafast solid-state laser oscillators: a success story for the last 20 years with no end in sight. In: Appl. Phys. B 100 (15), 2010

  • Eckle, P. et al.: Attosecond ionization and tunneling delay time measurements. In: Science 322(5907), 2008. S. 1525-1529.

  • Keller, U.: Recent developments in compact ultrafast lasers. In: Nature 424, 2003. S. 831-838.

  • Steinmeyer, G. et al.: Frontiers in ultrashort pulse generation: pushing the limits in linear and nonlinear optics. In: Science 286, 1999. S. 1507-1512.

  • Telle, H.R. et al.: Carrier-envelope offset phase control: A novel concept for absolute optical frequency measurement and ultrashort pulse generation. In: Appl. Phys. B 69, 1999. S. 327-332.

  • Keller, U. et al.: Semiconductor saturable absorber mirrors (SESAMs) for femtosecond to nanosecond pulse generation in solid-state lasers. In: IEEE J. Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (JSTQE) 2, 1996. S. 435-453.

Complete list of publications

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Elected to the board of directors of the Optical Society of America (OSA), 2010 – 2012

  • Deputy department head, Physics Department, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2007 – 2009

  • Editorial board, Applied Physics B since 1994, and Laser Physics Letters, since 2005

  • Head of the Institute of Quantum Electronics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2003 – 2005

  • Elected to the board of the European Physical Society (EPS) in quantum electronics, 1998 – 2004, and co-opted in 1996 – 1998 and 2005 – 2007

  • Elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, since 2003

  • Member of the university council, University of Hannover, Germany. The university council advises the presidential executive committee and the senate of the University of Hannover. Term of office: 1 December 2003 to 31 March 2007

  • Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), since 2003; senior member of IEEE/LEOS (now IEEE Photonics Society (IPS)), since 2002

  • Board of directors, Time-Bandwidth Products, Zurich, Switzerland

  • Jury member for the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis (prize for innovation)

Additional qualifications

Institutional responsibilities

  • Since 2010 Director of NCCR MUST: Swiss National Centre of Competence for Research (NCCR) in Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology (MUST),

  • 2014 – 2018 Member of the research council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, Mathematics, Natural and Engineering Sciences division SNSF Research Council

  • 2012-2016 Founding and elected president, ETH Women Professors Forum (WPF), wpf

  • 2007 – 2009 Deputy Head, Department of Physics, ETH Zurich

  • 2003 – 2005 Head Institute of Quantum Electronics, ETH Zurich

Company creation and board member

  • 1995 – 2014 co-founder Time-Bandwidth Products, acquired by JDSU (now Lumentum) 2014

    2000 – 2003 co-founder GigaTera, venture-capital funded, acquired by TBP in 2003

    Since 2022 member of supervisory board of JENOPTIK

Membership in external international scientific advisory board (SAB), award jury member

  • Jury member of the European Innovation Award (2018-2022), ESET Science Award, Slovakia (2019), IEEE Photonics Award (2018-2020), IET Harvey Engineering Research Prize (2019), IEEE Edison Medal Award (2014-2016), OSA Max Born Award (2014-2015)

  • 2017 External Dodd-Walls Centre Science Advisory Board – New Zealand

  • 2012 – 2016 EURAMET Research Council, elected member

  • 2011 – 2013 Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, SAB member

  • 2009 – 2016 Max-Born-Institute Berlin, 2009-2013 SAB member; 2013-2016 chair of SAB

  • 2008 – 2016 Jury member of Berthold Leibinger Innovationpreis/Zukunftspreis

  • 2008 – 2014 Munich-Centre for Advanced Photonics (MAP), LMU &MPQ Garching, SAB

  • 2007 – 2009 SAOT, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, SAB member

  • 2003 – 2007 Hochschulrat der Universität Hannover with medal of honor for exceptional service

  • 2002 – 2004 Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen, SAB member

Active memberships in scientific societies, fellowships in renowned academics

  • Board member of larger professional organizations: OSA, Director at Large 2010-2012; EPS in quantum electronics 1996-1998 (co-opted) 1998-2004 (elected), 2005-2007 (co-opted); IEEE LEOS, elected member of the Board of Governors 2000-2002; APS International Councilor (elected) 2020-2023

  • Elected Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2003) and the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (2008), Elected member of SATW

  • Fellow: OSA (2003), EPS (2012), SPIE (2014), IEEE (2014), IAPLE (2017)

Organization of conferences, editorial boards, …

  • Conference chair: ECOC 2011, CLEO Europe 2005, 2007; Advanced Solid-State Lasers 1999, 2000; Ultrafast Optics 1999; Ultrafast Dynamic Imaging of Matter (UDIM) 2015, VECSELs at Photonics West 2011, 2019, MUST2020

  • Conference program committees: Many international conferences

  • Editorial board: Applied Physics B: Ultrafast Lasers and Photonic Devices (1994-2013)

  • Laser Physics Letters (since 2005), Laser&Photonics Reviews (since 2009)


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  1. Ursula Keller has won the Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist, known as the ‘Swiss Nobel Prize’

    The physicist is honoured for her work on ultrafast lasers, including systems now used in manufacturing, communications technology and surgery

  2. AcademiaNet member Ursula Keller receives European Inventor Award 2018

    The European Patent Office (EPO) pays tribute to Swiss physicist, inventor and professor Ursula Keller for pioneering contributions to laser technology

  3. Eleven AcademiaNet members receive ERC Advanced Grants

    The EU's Research and Innovation programme supports the most creative research projects

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