Field of Work
The researchers at the 5th Physics Institute are investigating the quantum properties of atoms and attempting to control them in a targeted manner in their search for new material statuses or possible applications of quantum information technology and quantum optics. Ultracool dipolar quantum gases are one research focus, whose absolute zero point is revealing novel material statuses. Another project researches so-called Rydberg atoms at ultracool temperatures and at room temperature. In Rydberg atoms, the most external electron is so energy-rich that its distance from the atomic core is much greater than in normal atoms. These giant atoms can block each other and thus realize quantum structural elements such as individual photon sources. Individual photon sources can e.g. play a role in quantum communication at chip level.
Graduate physicist Prof. Tilman Pfau, born 1965, completed his PhD in 1994 under Prof. J. Mlynek in Konstanz. After temporary residencies in Paris at the École normale supérieure (ENS), he was promoted to professor in 1998 at Konstanz on the topic of “Light in atom optics”. Receiving the Feodor-Lynen scholarship, he researched at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Boston in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed Professor and Institute Director of the 5th Physics Institute at the University of Stuttgart. As a guest professor, he worked at the Helsinki University of Technology in Finland in 2005, at the Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, in 2007, and at the University of Toronto in Canada in 2010.
In 1998, he was awarded the Rudolf-Kaiser Prize by the Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany. In 2008, the Optical Society of America (OSA) accepted him as a Fellow for his “…pioneering work in the field of atomic optics and cool quantum gases…“. He received an Advanced Investigator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) in 2010.