the student lab at the MPQ

Since 2011, the PhotonLab — built up by MPQ, LMU, MCQST and FOR 2783 — has been a focal point for all those who want to learn about light. About 2000 students visit the PhotonLab annually.

If you are interested in visiting the Photonlab, simply contact Dr. Silke Stähler-Schöpf at

The Photonlab offers the following:

School group visits

All levels from the first grade are welcome to visit to our student lab (in exceptional cases, also younger visitors). Here, the students learn many interesting facts on the subject of ‘light and lasers':

— The visit begins with a presentation on the nature of light. Here we explain what light actually is, how it is produced and the difference between a light bulb and a laser. The content can be individually agreed upon in advance depending on student age level, so that the presentation matches the relevant curriculum. The duration of this talk, held in our small theater, is approximately 30 minutes.

— The highlight of the visit is, of course, independent experimentation in the student lab! Here, following some brief instructions, groups of up to 20 students can try out basic laser physics techniques, or discover physical phenomena of light. Of course, before beginning, instructions on laser safety are provided. A list of possible experiments can be found here. Depending on the group, about 90 minutes are scheduled for this session.

— Groups of over 20 students will be divided into two halves. The group that is not currently experimenting in the student lab can explore daily student life at the Garching Research Campus with our specially designed campus quiz, and thus gain some insight into one of the largest research centers in Germany.

— Depending on the availability of our scientists, the students can also be guided through the lab by a 'real' physicist, and given some insight into current research and lab work. Because our scientists are very busy with their research, this takes place only on request.

Teacher training

Teachers of all disciplines can continue their education in our special courses.

Laboratory manager Dr. Silke Stähler-Schöpf, who has years of experience working with school groups, will talk about light and lasers, and share experiences on how best to impart this information to students. Benefit from helpful tips for experiments that can be applied when teaching physics.


Support for senior scientific seminars (W-Seminararbeiten)

We give assistance in senior school scientific seminars (W-Seminararbeiten) by providing students with access to the infrastructure of Photonlab. Here, students can use existing experiments for measurements or improvements, or even design and build new experiments.

Student internships

What does the everyday work of a laser physicist actually look like? In an internship, students are integrated into life at the Photonlab for a week, and also have the opportunity to visit research laboratories and research groups, thereby giving them a taste of current research.

Support for entering physics competitions

Do you want to enter competitions such as the IYPT (International Young Physicists' Tournament), the Physics Olympiad, or another physics competition – but don’t have the equipment and lasers to perform your experiment? We're happy to help, and can assist you in designing and carrying out the experiment.


Dr. Silke Stähler-Schöpf

Phone +49 (0)89 32905-197



From 1/2021 to 4/2022, demonstrators for quantum physics will be developed within the Quanta project in cooperation with the Deutsches Museum and other project partners: "Development and testing of a set of methods for communicating quantum technologies: making qubits, superposition and entanglement tangible". The project is funded by the BMBF.


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