Nora Berrah

Research Interests

My research group focuses on the investigation of the interaction of small and large molecules with weak and strong electromagnetic fields produced by table-top lasers, free electron lasers and synchrotron facilities. Our current emphasis is on ultrafast time scales and strong laser fields. In addition to table-top lasers, we use intense femtosecond free electron lasers (FEL) in the vuv and x-ray regimes to probe physical and chemical processes that happen on ultrafast time scales.

We study time-resolved molecular dynamics with the aim to ultimately quantum control molecular systems. We carry out time-resolved molecular dynamics research at our UConn lab equipped with a COLTRIM apparatus and a ~9 fs laser system that allows two-color experiments. This system uses a strong laser field to allow us to measure electron-ion-ion coincidences resulting from the laser-molecule interaction in order to unambiguously determine the different ionization and fragmentation channels. Members of our group developed double-velocity imaging detectors (VMI) that are installed at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC National Laboratory on the Stanford University campus and at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The double-VMIs work regardless of the photon energies. Our research uses double-VMIs paired with x-ray photons from the x-ray FELs and x-ray synchrotrons. This research complements the table-top laser research that we carry out at UConn.

Our UConn group and national and international collaborators have also used the FLASH FEL in Hamburg, Germany, the FERMI FEL in Trieste, Italy, and the SACLA FEL in Japan.

Our research is funded by the DoE, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, Biosciences Division, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).



  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Virginia, 1987
  • M.Sc. (Diplome D’ètude Superieure), Theoretical Physics, Faculté des Sciences. Université d’Alger, Algeria, 1979


  • 2014-present: Professor and Head, Department of Physics, University of Connecticut
  • 2000-2013: Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Western Michigan University
  • 1991-2013: Professor, Department of Physics, Western Michigan University
  • 1989-1991: Assistant Scientist, Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 1987-1989: Postdoctoral Fellow, Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Professional Societies

  • Member, American Physical Society
  • Member, French Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Member, American Association of University Women


  • 2014, Davisson-Germer award, American Physical Society
  • 2011, Visiting Professor, University Paris VI, Paris, France, and Chair d’Excellence, French National Synchrotron Laboratory, St. Aubin, France
  • 2006, Visiting Scientist, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford
  • 1998, Visiting Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley
  • 1992,1993 Visiting Scientist (Chercheur Associe), Laboratoire pour l’Utilisation du Rayonnement Electronique, Orsay, France
  • 1992, Humboldt Fellow, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max Planck Gesellschaft, Berlin

Recent Publications

  1. Kasra Amini, Evgeny Savelyev, Felix Brauße, Nora Berrah, Cedric Bomme, Mark Brouard, Michael Burt, Lauge Christensen, Stefan Du€sterer, Benjamin Erk, Hauke H€oppner, Thomas Kierspel, Faruk Krecinic, Alexandra Lauer, Jason W. L. Lee, Maria Muller, Erland Muller, Terence Mullins, Harald Redlin, Nora Schirmel, Jan Thøgersen, Simone Techert, Sven Toleikis, Rolf Treusch, Sebastian Trippel, Anatoli Ulmer, Claire Vallance,1 Joss Wiese,Per Johnsson, Jochen Kupper,Artem Rudenko, Arnaud Rouzee, Henrik Stapelfeldt, Daniel Rolles, and Rebecca Boll, “ Photodissociation of aligned CH3I and C6H3F2I molecules probed with time-resolved Coulomb explosion imaging” Structural Dynamics, 5, (2018, in press)
  2. N. Berrah, Book chapter in “Fullerenes and Relative Materials”, Edited by Natalia Kamanina, and Published by IntechOpen. ISBN: 978-953-51-5591-1 (2018)
  3. Timur Osipov, Christoph Bostedt, J-C Castagna, Ken R Ferguson,2Maximilian Bucher, Sebastian C Montero, Michelle L Swiggers, Razib Obaid, Daniel Rolles, Artem Rudenko,John D Bozek, and Nora Berrah, “The LAMP Instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source Free-Electron Laser” (Review Scientific Instrument, (2018, in press).
  4. Razib Obaid, Christian Buth, Georgi L. Dakovski, Randolf Beerwerth, Michael Holmes, J. Aldrich, Ming-Fu Lin, Michael Minitti , Timur Osipov, William Schlotter, Lorenz S. Cederbaum, Stephan Fritzsche, and Nora Berrah, “LCLS in – photon out: fluorescence measurement of neon using soft x-rays”, J. Phys. B 51(3) (2018).
  5. Li Fang. Edwin Kukk, Nora Berrah, book chapter on XRSD ‘Advances in Optics: Reviews’ Book Series, Vol. 1, IFSA Publishing (Barcelona, Spain, 2017).
  6. Hui Xiong, Razib Obaid, Li Fang, Cédric Bomme, Nora G. Kling, Utuq Ablikim, Vladimir Petrovic,
    Chelsea E. Liekhus-Schmaltz, Heng Li, Rene C. Bilodeau, Thomas Wolf, Timur Osipov, Daniel Rolles, and Nora Berrah, “Soft-x-ray-induced ionization and fragmentation dynamics of Sc3N@C80 investigated using an ion-ion-coincidence momentum-imaging technique”, Phys. Rev. A. 96, 033408 (2017).
  7. I. Dumitriu, R. C. Bilodeau, T. W. Gorczyca, C. W. Walter, N. D. Gibson, D. Rolles, Z. D. Pešić, A. Aguilar and N. Berrah, “Inner-Shell Photodetachment from Ni-: Giant Feshbach resonance”, Phys. Rev. A 96, 023405 (2017).
  8. Thomas J. A. Wolf, Fabian Holzmeier, Isabella Wagner, Nora Berrah, Christoph Bostedt, John Bozek, Phil Bucksbaum, Ryan Coffee, James Cryan, Joe Farrell, Raimund Feifel, Kelly Gaffney, Todd J. Martinez, Brian McFarland, Saikat Nandi, Christophe Nicolas, Jan-Michael Rost, Francesco Tarantelli, Ingo Fischer, and Markus Gühr, “Observing femtosecond fragmentation using ultrafast x-ray induced Auger spectra “, Applied Science, 7(7), 681 (2017).
  9. T. Takanashi, N. V. Golubev, H. Fukuzawa, K. Motomura, D. Iablonskyi,1 Y. Kumagai, S. Mondal, T. Tachibana, K. Nagaya, T. Nishiyama, K. Matsunami, P. Johnsson, P. Piseri, G. Sansone,A. Dubrouil, M. Reduzzi, P. Carpeggiani, C. Vozzi, M. Devetta, M. Negro, D. Faccial`a, F. Calegari,A. Trabattoni, M. C. Castrovilli, Y. Ovcharenko, M. Mudrich, F. Stienkemeier, M. Coreno, M. Alagia, B. Schutte, N. Berrah, C. Callegari, O. Plekan,13 P. Finetti, C. Spezzani, E. Ferrari, E. Allaria, G. Penco, C. Serpico, G. De Ninno, B. Diviacco, S. Di Mitri, L. Giannessi, G. Jabbari, K. C. Prince, L. S. Cederbaum, Ph. V. Demekhin, A. I. Kuleff, and K. Ueda “Time-Resolved Measurement of Interatomic Coulombic Decay Induced by Two-Photon Double Excitation of Ne2”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 033202 (2017).
  10. D. Iablonskyi,K. Nagaya, H. Fukuzawa,K. Motomura,Y. Kumagai,1S. Mondal,T. Tachibana, T. Takanashi, T. Nishiyama, K. Matsunami, P. Johnsson, P. Piseri, G. Sansone, A. Dubrouil, M. Reduzzi, P. Carpeggiani, C. Vozzi, M. Devetta, M. Negro, F. Calegari, A. Trabattoni, M. C. Castrovilli, D. Faccialà, Y. Ovcharenko, T. Möller, M. Mudrich, F. Stienkemeier, M. Coreno, M. Alagia, B. Schütte, N. Berrah, A. I. Kuleff, G. Jabbari, C. Callegari, O. Plekan, P. Finetti, C. Spezzani, E. Ferrari, E. Allaria, G. Penco, C. Serpico, G. De Ninno, I. Nikolov, B. Diviacco, S. Di Mitri, L. Giannessi, K. C. Prince, and K. Ueda, “Slow Interatomic Coulombic Decay of Multiply Excited Neon Clusters”, (Phys. Rev. Let. in press) (2017).
  11. Utuq Ablikim, Cédric Bomme, Hui Xiong, Evgeny Savelyev, Razib Obaid,Balram Kaderiya, Sven Augustin, Kirsten Schnorr, Ileana Dumitriu, Timur Osipov,René Bilodeau, David Kilcoyne, Vinod Kumarappan, Artem Rudenko, Nora Berrah, Daniel Rolles,” Identification of absolute geometries of cis and trans molecular isomers by Coulomb Explosion Imaging”, (Scientific Reports, Accepted), (2016)
  12. Alberto A. Lutman, Timothy J. Maxwell, James P. MacArthur, Marc W. Guetg, Nora Berrah, Ryan N. Coffee, Yuantao Ding, Zhirong Huang, Agostino Marinelli, Stefan Moeller & Johann C. U. Zemella “Fresh-slice multicolour X-ray free-electron lasers” Nat. Photonics 10 745 (2016).
  13. C. S. Lehmann, A. Picon, C. Bostedt, A. Rudenko, A. Marinelli, D. Moonshiram, T. Osipov, D. Rolles, N. Berrah, C. Bomme, M. Bucher, G. Doumy, B. Erk, K. Ferguson, T. Gorkhover, P. J. Ho, E. P. Kanter, B. Krassig, J. Krzywinski, A. A. Lutman, A. M. March, D. Ray, L. Young, S. T. Pratt, and S. H. Southworth, “Ultrafast measurements for molecular nuclear dynamics using two x-ray pulses”, Phys. Rev. A, 94, 013426 (2016).
  14. Nora Berrah, Li Fang, Brendan F Murphy, Edwin Kukk, Timur Y. Osipov, Ryan Coffee, Ken R Ferguson, Hui Xiong, Jean-Charles Castagna, Vlad S Petrovic, Sebastian Carron Montero, and John D. Bozek , “A two mirrors x-ray pulse split and delay instrument for femtosecond time resolved investigations at the LCLS free electron laser facility” Optics Express 24 (11), 11768-11781 (2016).
  15. A. Picon, C. S. Lehmann, C. Bostedt, A. Rudenko, A. Marinelli, T. Osipov, D. Rolles, N. Berrah, C. Bomme, M. Bucher, G. Doumy, B. Erk, K. R. Ferguson, T.Gorkhover, P. J. Ho, E. P. Kanter, B. Krassig, J. Krzywinski, A. A. Lutman, A.M. March, D. Moonshiram, D. Ray, L. Young, S. T. Pratt, and S. H. Southworth, “Hetero-site-specific ultrafast intramolecular dynamics”, Nature Comm. 7, 11652( 2016).
  16. P. H. Bucksbaum and N. Berrah, “Brighter and faster: the promise and challenge of the x-ray free electron laser”, reproduced in Parity 6, 14 (2016).
  17. Liu, Ji-Cai; Berrah, Nora; Cederbaum, Lorenz; Cryan, James; Glownia, James; Schafer, Kenneth; Buth, Christian “Rate equations for nitrogen molecules in ultrashort and intense x-ray pulses ” J. Phys. B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (Accepted January 2016).
  18. Nora Berrah, “Molecular Dynamics Induced by Short and Intense X-rays Pulses from the LCLS” Physica Scripta, T169 (2016) (Article based on an invited talk at the Nobel Symposium, Stigtuna, Stockholm, Sweden, June 15, 2015).
  19. P. Bolognesi, P. O’Keeffe, T. Mazza, J. Bozek, R. Coffee, C. Bostedt, S. Schorb,S. Carron, R. Feifel, M. Mucke, M. Guehr, E. F. Sistrunk, J. Grilj, B. K. McFarland, M. Koch, M. Larsson, P. Salem, N. Berrah, L. Fang, T. Osipov, B. Murphy, R. R. Lucchese, M. Meyer, M.N. Piancastelli, K. Ueda, S. Mondal, C. Miron, R. Richter, K.C. Prince, O. Takahashi and L. Avaldi, “A study of the dynamical energy flow in uracil”, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 635, 112062 (2015).
  20. Sanchez-Gonzalez, Alvaro; Barillot, Thomas; Squibb, Richard; Kolorenc, Premysl; Agaker, Markus; Averbukh, Vitali; Bearpark, Michael; Bostedt, Christoph; Bozek, John; Bruce, Sandra; Carron Montero, Sebastian; Coffee, Ryan; Cooper, Bridgette; Cryan, James; Dong, Minjie; Eland, John; Fang, Li; Fukuzawa, Hironobu; Guehr, Markus; Ilchen, Markus; Johnson, Allan; Liekhus-S, Chelsea; Marinelli, Agostino; Maxwell, Timothy; Motomura, K.; Mucke, Melanie; Natan, Adi; Osipov, Timur; Ostlin, Christopher; Pernpointner, Markus; Petrovic, Vladimir; Robb, Mike; Sathe, Conny; Simpson, Emma; Underwood, Jonathan; Vacher, Morgane; Walke, Daniel; Wolf, Thomas; Zhaunerchyk, Vitali; Rubensson, Jan-Erik; Berrah, Nora; Bucksbaum, Phil; Ueda, Kiyoshi; Feifel, Raimund; Frasinski, L; Marangos, J, “Auger electron and photoabsorption spectra of glycine in the vicinity of the oxygen K-edge measured with an X-FEL” Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 48 234004 (2015).
  21. Zhaunerchyk, M. Kaminska, M. Mucke, R.J. Squibb, J.H.D. Eland M.N. Piancastelli, L.J. Frasinski, J. Grilj, M. Koch, B.K. McFarland, E. Sistrunk, M. Guhr, R.N. Coffee, C. Bostedt, J.D. Bozek, P. Salen, P. v.d. Meulen, P. Linusson, R.D. Thomas, M. Larsson, L. Foucar, J. Ullrich, K. Motomura, S. Mondal, K. Ueda, P. O’Keeffe, R. Richter, K.C. Prince, O. Takahashi, T. Osipov, L. Fang, B.F. Murphy, N. Berrah, and R. Feifel, “Disentangling formation of multiple-core holes in aminophenol molecules exposed to bright XFEL radiation ”, J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 48 244003 (2015).
  22. A Dubrouil, M Reduzzi, M Devetta, C Feng, J Hummert, P Finetti, O Plekan, C Grazioli, M Di Fraia, V Lyamayev, A La Forge, R Katzy, F Stienkemeier, Y Ovcharenko, M Coreno, N Berrah, K Motomura, S Mondal, K Ueda, K C Prince, C Callegari, A I Kuleff Ph V Demekhin, G Sansone, “Two-photon resonant excitation of interatomic coulombic decay in neon dimers”, J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 48 204005 (2015).
  23. Berrah and P. H. Bucksbaum, “The Ultimate X-ray Machine” Scientific American Special Collector’s edition, 54, (2015).
  24. Berrah, B. Murphy, H. Xiong, L. Fang, T. Osipov, E. Kukk, M. Guehr, R. Feifel, V. S. Petrovic, K. R. Ferguson, J. D. Bozek, C. Bostedt, L. J. Frasinski, P. H. Bucksbaum and J. C. Castagna , “Femtosecond x-ray induced fragmentation of fullerenes” J. of Mod. Opt.,Vol. 63, No. 4, 390–401 doi: 10.1080/09500340.2015.1064175 (2015).
  25. Bucksbaum & N. Berrah, Physics Today, 68 (7), 26 July 2015.
  26. Berrah and L. Fang “Chemical Analysis: Double Core-Hole Spectroscopy with Free-Electron Lasers” J. Electr. Spect. And Rel. Phenom. 204, 284–289 (2015).
  27. E. Liekhus-Schmaltz, I. Tenney, T. Osipov, A. Sanchez-Gonzalez, N. Berrah, R. Boll, et al., P.H. Bucksbaum, V. Petrovic et al.,“Ultrafast Isomerization Initiated by X-Ray Core Ionization” Nature Comm. 6, 8199, doi:10.1038/ncomms9199 (2015).
  28. Mucke, V. Zhaunerchyk, L.J. Frasinski, R.J.Squibb, M. Siano, J.H.D. Eland, P. Linusson, P. Salen, P. v.d. Meulen, R.D. Thomas, M. Larsso3, L. Foucar, J. Ullrich, K. Motomura, S. Mondal, K.Ueda, T. Osipov, L. Fang;12, B.F. Murphy, N Berrah, C. Bostedt, J.D. Bozek, S. Schorb, M.Messerschmidt, J.M. Glownia, J.P. Cryan, R.N. O. Takahashi, S. Wada, M.N. Piancastelli, R. Richter, K.C. Prince, and R. Feife, “Covariance mapping of two-photon double core hole states in C2H2 and C2H6 produced by an X-ray free electron laser” New Journal of Physics, 17, 073002, doi:10.1088/1367-2630/17/7/073002, (2015).
  29. Penent, M. Nakano, M. Tashiro, T. P. Grozdanov, M. Žitnik, K. Bucar, S. Carniato, P. Selles, L. Andric, P. Lablanquie, J. Palaudoux, E. Shigemasa, H. Iwayama, Y. Hikosaka, K. Soejima, I.H. Suzuki, N. Berrah, A. Wuosmaa, T. Kaneyasu and K. Ito, “Double core hole spectroscopy with synchrotron radiation” J. Electr. Spect. and Relat. Phenom. 204, 303–312, doi:10.1016/j.elspec.2015.06.015, (2015).
  30. Dubrouil, M. Reduzzi, M. Devetta, C. Feng, J. Hummert, P. Finetti, O. Plekan, C. Grazioli, M. Di Fraia, V. Lyamayev, A. La Forge, R. Katzy, F. Stienkemeier, Y. Ovcharenko, M. Coreno, N. Berrah, K. Motomura, S. Monda, K. Ueda, K. C. Prince, C. Callegari, A. I Kuleff, Ph .V Demekhin and G. Sansone, “Two-photon resonant excitation of interatomic coulombic decay in neon dimers ”, J. Phys. B: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 48 204005, doi:10.1088/0953-4075/48/20/204005, (2015).
  31. L Fang, Z Jurek, T Osipov, B F Murphy, R Santra, and N Berrah, “Investigating Dynamics of Complex System Irradiated by Intense X-ray Free Electron Laser Pulses”, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 601, 012006 (2015).

For the Full List of Publications click here