Nora Berrah



Research Interests

Investigation of the interaction of molecules with strong electromagnetic and weakfields produced by various light sources. Recent research interests are in the areas of non-linear physics, quantum control and time resolved studies of molecules with emphasis on long and short wavelength radiation, ultrafast time scales and strong laser fields. The current research involves the use of intense IR femtosecond, HHG table-top lasers and free electron lasers (FEL) in the vuv and x-ray regimes to probe physical and chemical processes that happen on ultrafast time scales. Planned investigation with trains of attosecond pulses and x-ray FEL pulses are underway.



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


• Professor, Physics Department, University of Connecticut, August 2018-present.
• Professor and Head of the Physics Department, University of Connecticut, Jan 2014-August 2018.
• Chair d’Excellence, SOLEIL (French National Synchrotron Laboratory), St. Aubin, France, 2011-2012 and Visiting Professor, University Paris VI, Paris, France.
• Visiting Scientist, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Stanford, CA, 2006.
• University Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Western Michigan University, 2000.
• Visiting Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, 1998-1999.
• Professor, Physics Department, Western Michigan University, August 1999.
• Associate Professor, Physics Department, Western Michigan University, August 1994.
• Visiting Scientist, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max Planck Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany, 1992-1993.
• Visiting Scientist (Chercheur Associe), LURE (Laboratoire pour l’Utilisation du Rayonnement Electronique), Orsay, France. June-July 1992, May 1993.
• Visiting Scientist, Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL. May 1992.
• Assistant Professor, Physics Department, Western Michigan University, August 1991.
• Assistant Scientist, Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, October 1989-1991.
• Postdoctoral appointee, Physics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, May 1987-October 1989

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


  • Blaise-Pascal Chair d’ Excellence, Ultrafast science at Commissariat à l’énergie Atomique, CEA, Saclay, France, 2020.
  • University of Connecticut, Arts and Science Excellent Research Achievement, 2019.
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2019 .
  •  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Citation: “For distinguished contributions to the field of molecular dynamics, particularly for pioneering non-linear science using x-rays free electron lasers and spectroscopy using synchrotron light sources”2018.
  •  Davisson-Germer Prize, American Physical Society (2014). Citation: “For pioneering experiments on the interaction of atoms, molecules, negative ions and clusters with ionizing vacuum ultraviolet and soft x-ray photons.”2014
  • Western Michigan University, Arts and Science College, Global Engagement Award, 2012.
  • Western Michigan University (WMU) Dean’s Faculty Research Appreciation Award, 2007, 2008.
  • David. S. Shirley Award for “Outstanding Scientific Achievements at the Advanced Light Source”, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2002.
  • WMU Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, 2000.
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1999.
  • WMU President’s Award for Excellence in Research, 1996.
  • WMU Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, 1995, 1997.
  • Humboldt Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation , 1992-1993.
  • Graduate Fellowship, Physics Department, University of Virginia, 1985-1986.
  • Scholarship, University of Orsay, Paris, France, 1979-1980.
  • Scholarship, Ministere de L’Enseignement Superieure et de la Recherche Scientifique, Algeria, 1980-1985.
  • Baccalaureate exam with Honors, 1975.

Recent Publications

    1. Berrah, A. Sanchez-Gonzalez, Z. Jurek, R. Obaid, H. Xiong, R. J. Squibb, T. Osipov, A. Lutman, L. Fang, T. Barillot, J. D. Bozek, J. Cryan, T. J. A. Wolf, D. Rolles, R. Coffee, K. Schnorr, S. Augustin, H. Fukuzawa, K. Motomura, N. Niebuhr, L. J. Frasinski, R. Feifel, C. P. Schulz, K. Toyota, S.-K. Son, K. Ueda, T. Pfeifer, J.P. Marangos and R. Santra, “X-ray multiphoton ionization of molecules: Femtosecond-resolved observation of delayed fragmentation and evaporation of neutral atoms”, Nature Physics 15, 1279 (2019).
    2. Taran Driver, Siqi Li, Elio G. Champenois, Joseph Duris, Daniel Ratner, TJ Lane, Philipp Rosenberger, Andre Al-Haddad, Vitali Averbukh, Toby Barnard, Nora Berrah, Christoph Bostedt, Philip H. Bucksbaum, Ryan Coffee, Louis F. DiMauro, Li Fang, Douglas Garratt, Averell Gatton, Zhaoheng Guo, Gregor Hartmann, Daniel Haxton, Wolfram Helm Aaron LaForge, Andrei Kamalov, Matthias F. Kling, Jonas Knurr, Ming-Fu Lin, Alberto A. Lutman, James P. MacArthur, Jon P. Marangos, Megan Nante, Adi Natan, Razib Obaid, Niranjan H. Shivaram, Avaid Schori, Peter Walter, Anna Wang, Thomas J. A. Wolf, Agostino Marinelli, and James P. Cryan, “Attosecond Transient Absorption Spooktroscopy: a ghost imaging approach to ultrafast absorption spectroscopy” Chem. Chem. Phys., 2019, DOI: 10.1039/c9cp03951a
    3. Stephane Carniato, Patricia Selles, Anthony Ferté, Nora Berrah, Alan Wouasmaa, Motoyoshi Nakano, Yasumasa Hikosaka, Kenji Ito, Matjaž Žitnik, Klemen Bučar, L. Andric, J. Palaudoux, Francis Penent, and Pascal Lablanquie, “Double-core ionization photoelectron spectroscopy of C6H6 . Breakdown of the “intuitive” ortho-meta-para binding energy ordering of K-1K-1 states”. Chem. Phys. 151, 214303 (2019).
    4. Razib Obaid, Kirsten Schnorr, Thomas J. A. Wolf, Tsukasa Takanashi, Nora G. Kling, Kuno Kooser, Kiyonobu Nagaya, Shin-ichi Wada, Li Fang, Sven Augustin, Daehyun You, Eleanor E. B. Campbell, Hironobu Fukuzawa, Claus-Peter Schulz, Kiyoshi Ueda, Pascal Lablanquie, Thomas Pfeifer, Edwin Kukk, and Nora Berrah, “Photo-ionization and fragmentation of Sc3N@C80 following excitation above the Sc K-edge” J. Chem. Phys. 151, 104308 (2019).
    5. Utuq Ablikim, Cédric Bomme, Timur Osipov, Hui Xiong, Razib Obaid, René C. Bilodeau, Nora G. Kling, Ileana Dumitriu,Sven Augustin, Shashank Pathak, Kirsten Schnorr, David Kilcoyne, Nora Berrah, and Daniel Rolles “A coincidence velocity map imaging spectrometer for ions and high-energy electrons to study inner-shell photoionization of gas-phase molecules” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 90, 055103 (2019);
    6. G. Kling, S. Diaz-Tendero, R. Obaid, H. Xiong, M. Sundberg, S. Khosravi, M. Davino, P. Drach, A. M. Carroll, T. Osipov, F. Martin and N. Berrah, “Time-Resolved Molecular Dynamics of Single and Double Hydrogen Migration in Ethanol” Nature comm. 10, 2813 (2019)
    7. Eva Lindroth, Francesca Calegari, Linda Young, Marion Harmand, Nirit Dudovich, Nora Berrah and Olga Smirnova “Challenges and opportunities in attosecond and XFEL science”, Nature Reviews Physics 1, 107–111 (2019)
    8. Koudai Toyota, Zoltan Jurek, Sang-Kil Son, Hironobu Fukuzawa, Kiyoshi Ueda, Nora Berrah, Benedikt Rudek, Daniel Rolles, Artem Rudenko, and Robin Santra, “xcalib: a focal spot calibrator for intense X-ray free-electron laser pulses based on the charge state distributions of light atoms,”  Synchrotron Radiat.26, 1017–1030 (2019).
    9. Kiyoshi Ueda, Emma Sokell, Stefan Schippers, Friedrich Aumayr, Hossein Sadeghpour, Joachim Burgdörfer, Christoph Lemell, Xiao-Min Tong, Thomas Pfeifer, Francesca Calegari, Alicia Palacios, Fernando Martin, Paul Corkum, Giuseppe Sansone, Elena Gryzlova, Alexei N. Grum-Grzhimailo, Maria Novella Piancastelli, Peter Weber, Tobias Steinle, Kasra Amini, Jens Biegert, Nora Berrah, Edwin Kukk, Robin Santra, Alfred Müller, Danielle Dowek, Robert Lucchese, Bill McCurdy, Paola Bolognesi, Lorenzo Avaldi, Till Jahnke, Markus S. Schöffler, Reinhard Dörner, Yann Mairesse, Laurent Nahon, Olga Smirnova, Thomas Schlathölter, Eleanor E. B. Campbell, Jan-Michael Rost, Michael Meyer and Kazuo A. Tanaka “Roadmap on photonic, electronic and atomic collision physics I. Light-matter interaction” (in press, Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics) 2019.
    10. Soroush D. Khosravi, Michael M. Bishop, Amy M. LaFountain, Daniel B. Turner, George N. Gibson, Harry A. Frank, and Nora Berrah, “Addition of a Carbonyl End Group Increases the Rate of Excited-State Decay in a Carotenoid via Conjugation Extension and Symmetry Breaking” Phys. Chem. B, 1224810872-10879 (2018) 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b06732.
    11. Li Fang, Hui Xiong, Edwin Kukk,Vladmire S. Petrovic, and Nora Berrah, “X-ray initiated photodissociation of glycine molecule” Phys. Rev. A. 98, 053408 (2018).
    12. Timur Osipov, Christoph Bostedt, J-C Castagna, Ken R Ferguson, Maximilian 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”,  Rev. of Sci. Instr., 89(3), 035112 (2018). ‘Editor’s pick’ section.
    13. Hui Xiong, Li Fang, Timur Osipov, Nora G. Kling, Thomas J. A. Wolf, Emily Sistrunk, Razib Obaid, Markus Gühr, and Nora Berrah “Fragmentation of endohedral fullerene Ho3N@C80 in an intense femtosecond near-infrared laser field”, Phys. Rev. A 97, 023419 (2018).
    14. Buth Christian, Beerwerth Randolf, Obaid Razib, Berrah Nora, Cederbaum Lorenz and Fritzsche Stephan “Neon in ultrashort and intense x rays from free electron lasers”, J. Phys. B 51, 055602 (2018).
    15. 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, 014301 (2018).
    16. Berrah, “Fullerene Dynamics with X-Ray Free-Electron Lasers” Book chapter in Fullerenes and Relative Materials, Edited by Natalia Kamanina, and Published by, IntechOpen. ISBN: 978-953-51-5591-1 (2018).
    17. 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: At. Mol. Opt. Phys. 51, 034003 (2018).
          1. Li Fang. Edwin Kukk, Nora Berrah, “X-ray pump-probe investigation of molecular dynamics with free electron laser pulses”, book chapter on ‘Advances in Optics: Reviews’ Book Series, Vol. 2, e-ISBN: 978-84-697-9438-8, (2018)
          2. 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).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 resonances“, Phys. Rev. A 96, 023405 (2017).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 “, Sci, 7(7), 681; . (2017)
          3. Nora Berrah, “A Perspective for Investigating Photo-Induced Molecular Dynamics from Within with Femtosecond Free Electron Lasers” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 19, 19536-19544 (2017),
          4. J. A. Wolf, R. H. Myhre, J. P. Cryan, S. Coriani, R. J. Squibb, A. Battistoni, N. Berrah, C. Bostedt, P. Bucksbaum, G. Coslovich, R. Feifel, K. J. Gaffney, J. Grilj, T. J. Martinez, S. Miyabe, S. P. Moeller, M. Mucke, A. Natan, R. Obaid, T. Osipov, O. Plekan, S. Wang, H. Koch, M. Gühr, “Probing ultrafast ππ*/nπ* internal conversion in organic chromophores via K-edge resonant absorption”, Nature Communication, 2017, 8: 29 | DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00069-7.
          5. Carlo Callegari, Tsukasa Takanashi, Hironobu Fukuzawa, Koji Motomura, Denys Iablonskyi, Yoshiaki Kumagai, Subhendu Mondal, Tetsuya Tachibana, Kiyonobu Nagaya, Toshiyuki Nishiyama, Kenji Matsunami, Per Johnsson, Paolo Piseri, Giuseppe Sansone, Antoine Dubrouil, Maurizio Reduzzi, Paolo Carpeggiani, Caterina Vozzi, Michele Devetta, Davide Faccialà, Francesca Calegari, Mattea Carmen Castrovilli, Marcello Coreno, Michele Alagia, Bernd Schütte, Nora Berrah, Oksana Plekan, Paola Finetti, Eugenio Ferrari, Kevin Charles Prince, Kiyoshi Ueda, “Application of Matched-Filter Concepts to Unbiased Selection of Data in Pump-probe Experiments with Free Electron Lasers” Appl. Sci., 7(6), 621; doi:10.3390/app7060621 (2017).
          1. Kasra Amini, Rebecca Boll, Alexandra Lauer, Michael Burt, Jason W L Lee, Lauge Christensen, Felix Branβe, Terence Mullins, Evgeny Savelyev, Utuq Ablikim, Nora Berrah, Cédric Bomme, Stefan Düsterer, Benjamin Erk, Hauke Höppner, Per Johnsson, Thomas Kierspe, Faruk Krecinic, Jochen Küpper, Maria Müller, Erland Müller, Harald Redlin, Arnaud Rouzée, Nora Schirmel, Jan Thøgersen, Simone Techert, Sven Toleikis, Rolf Treusch, Sebastian Trippel, Anatoli Ulmer, Joss Wiese, Artem Rudenko, Henrik Stapelfeldt, Mark Brouard, Daniel Rolles, “Alignment, Orientation, and Coulomb Explosion of Difluoroiodobenzene Studied with the Pixel Imaging Mass Spectrometry (PImMS) Camera” Journal of Chemical Physics 147, 013933 (2017).



          For the Full List of Publications click here

          Contact Information

          Mailing AddressDept. of Physics, University of Connecticut, 196 Auditorium Road, Unit 3046 Storrs, CT 06269-3046
          Office LocationS310