After studying physics at the University of Göttingen and the University of California, Berkeley (USA), Claus Ropers worked at the Max Born Institute in Berlin and received his doctorate at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2007. After a year as project leader at the Max Born Institute, he returned to the University of Göttingen in 2008, where he initially worked as a junior professor with tenure track, heading the research group Nano-Optics and Ultrafast Dynamics. In 2011, the University appointed him as professor at the age of only 34 years. Since 2013, he has held the professorship for Experimental Solid State Physics and has been managing director of the IV. Physical Institute – Solid State and Nanostructures since 2014. Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences.
The experimental physicist and his team investigate the structural, electronic, and magnetic dynamics in solids, nanostructures, and surfaces. Thereby, the researchers want to answer fundamental questions that are also of technological relevance: How do the complex properties of materials emerge? How do photovoltaic energy conversion processes take place? To do so, Ropers needs to develop new experiments. For his research, Ropers uses ultrafast electron microscopy – a field to which he has made a decisive contribution and in which he is one of the leading scientists worldwide.
He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Carl Ramsauer Prize of the Physical Society of Berlin, the Walter Schottky Prize of the German Physical Society, the Klung Wilhelmy Science Prize, the Ernst Ruska Prize and the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation.