Skip to main content
Lehigh University campus fall aerial view
Volkmar Dierolf portrait

Volkmar Dierolf


Lewis Lab 209 SF

1992 PhD in Physics, University of Utah, USA

2000 Habilitation in Experimental Physics, University of Paderborn, Germany

Explore this Profile

Additional Interests

  • Next Generation Rare Earth Based Light-Emitters for Solid-State Display & Quantum Information Technology Applications
  • Spatially selective phase transformations of glass to single crystal
  • Laser Fabrication of Active Single-Crystal Architecture in Glass

Research Statement

Dierolf’s research projects are motivated by potential applications such as classical and quantum optical communication, high efficiency light sources and displays, quantum computing optical frequency converters, and lasers. The focus of his research lies on the fundamental physical phenomena, which play a decisive role in these applications, and on the properties of the underlying materials. Due to the nature of this research, he works close collaborations with other groups in physics, electrical engineering, and materials science.

The group specializes on a wide range of spectroscopic methods including:

  • Combined excitation emission spectroscopy
  • Confocal microscopy and spectroscopy in a spectral range from IR (1.6μm) to the UV 
  • Time resolved spectroscopy
  • Laser writing of single crystals within glass using cw and fs lasers

Measurements are performed with high spatial resolution and for a wide temperature range including cryogenic cryogenic temperatures. In these studies, dopants like rare earth and transition metal ions, that are investigated for their basic properties (excitation efficiency, radiative and non-radiative decay times, g-factors, spectral line broadening) but also as probes to detect changes within the material due to processing and applied external perturbations.

Current externally funded research projects:

  • RUI: Next Generation Rare Earth Based Light-Emitters for Solid-State Display & Quantum Information Technology Applications (NSF)
  • GOALI: Spatially selective phase transformations of glass to single crystal and electrically conducting 3D architectures (NSF)
  • Laser Fabrication of Active Single-Crystal Architecture in Glass (DOE)


Volkmar Dierolf's journey in the world of physics began in Germany, his place of birth and upbringing. In 1987, he earned his Diploma in Physics from the Universität Stuttgart. Subsequentely, he embarked on an educational adventure abroad, culminating in his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Utah in 1992. Returning to Germany, he continued to expand his academic horizons, earning a Habilitation in Experimental Physics from the University of Paderborn in 2000. His career took a transatlantic turn again as he joined Lehigh University in Bethlehem, USA, in the role of an Associate Professor in Fall 2000. Over the years, he ascended through the academic ranks becoming Full Professor in 2008. Since July 2014, he is a University Distinguished Professor. His outstanding contributions were further recognized by the University with both the Early Career Libsch Award in 2007 and the Libsch Award in 2022. An essential chapter of his academic journey included serving as Chair of the Physics Department at Lehigh for an impressive 12-year span, from 2009 to 2021. His leadership and commitment to academic excellence left an enduring impact on the Department. Beyond his roles at Lehigh University, he extended his global reach by becoming a Mercator Visiting Professor in the Physics Department at the University of Bonn, Germany, in 2008-2009, fostering international scientific collaboration. Additionally, he is a frequent guest at Osaka University in Japan. His research, focusing on defects and dopants in insulating and semiconducting materials, epitomizes interdisciplinarity. This is reflected in his joint appointment with the Materials Science and Engineering department at Lehigh University. With authorship or co-authorship of 8 books and book chapters and over 200 publications in international journals, his contributions to the academic world are profound. He further holds two patents, showcasing his innovation and practical impact. His work is founded by several grants from NSF and DOE, and partnerships with industry. Outside of his academic pursuits, he dedicates his free time to running and preparing for marathons, with a sub-3-hour goal in his sights (personal best: 3:00.51). He also indulges in the joys of skiing, seeking untouched powder as an avid enthusiast.


  1. Rare Earth and Transition Metal Doping of Semiconductor Materials, 1st Edition, Synthesis, Magnetic Properties and Room Temperature Spintronics, (Editors: V. Dierolf, I. Ferguson, J. Zavada, Woodhead Publishing (Elsevier), Febr. 2016) ISBN 9780081000410.
  2. Topics in Applied Physics 124: Rare-Earth Doped III-Nitrides for Optoelectronic and Spintronic Applications, (ed. K.P. O'Donnell, V. Dierolf Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2010)
  3. Electronic Defect States and Molecular Ions in Alkali Halides, Monograph, Springer Tracts in Modern Physics, 185 (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 2003).

Selected Journal Articles: (up-to-date list can be found on Google Scholar)

  1. Temporally modulated energy shuffling in highly interconnected nanosystems, Brandon Mitchell, Hayley Austin, Dolf Timmerman, Volkmar Dierolf, Yasufumi Fujiwara, Nanophotonics 10 (2), 851-876 (2021).
  2. Color-Tunablility in GaN LEDs Based on Atomic Emission Manipulation under Current Injection, B. Mitchell, R.Wei, J.Takatsu, D. Timmerman, T. Gregorkiewicz, W. Zhu, S, Ichikawa, J. Tatebayashi, Y. Fujiwara, V. Dierolf, ACS Photonics 2019, 6,5, 1153-1161.
  3. Fabrication of graded index single crystal in glass., K.Veenhuizen , S. McAnany, D. Nolan, B. Aitken , V. Dierolf, H. Jain. Scientific Reports, 7:44327 (2017).
  4. Demonstration of single crystal growth via solid-solid transformation of a glass, D. Savytskii , B. Knorr* ,V. Dierolf, H. Jain,   Scientific Reports 6, 23324 (2016).
  5. Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Three Mg− H− V N Complexes in Mg: GaN from Combined First-Principles Calculation and Experiment, D Lee, B Mitchell, Y Fujiwara, V Dierolf, Physical Review Letters 112 (20), 205501 (2014).


Advanced Physics Lab I (Phy220) and II (Phy221)