Magnus’ research interests focus heavily on the behavior of materials under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature which might result in their transformation to new crystallographic phases or into whole new forms of matter with outstanding properties or cause them to disintegrate into their elemental constituents. One central theme concerns the possibility of storing energy in these new substances, energy that was expended in generating the transformation resulting in meta-stable, possibly energetic materials. The dramatic changes in their properties can be probed using light of any energy, be it in the framework of optical spectroscopy, such as Raman, FT-IR, or luminescence, non-linear spectroscopy such as CARS, as well as X-ray diffraction.
Magnus is a member of the American Physical Society. He received a MS degree in general physics from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, in 1986 and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 1992 investigating multi-photon excitations of ionic crystals under pressure (advisor William B. Daniels). He joined LLNL as postdoc in 1994 and returned as a staff member in 2000.
Magnus is married with five children whose interests keep him very busy.