Visionary Researchers

ERC grants awarded to Stuttgart University researchers.

The European Research Council (ERC) provides funding for cutting-edge and visionary research and targets excellent researchers at different stages of their careers. ERC grants have come to be seen as the hallmark of internationally competitive universities. A whole host of researchers at the University of Stuttgart have received the prestigious grant, which provides up to 2.5 million euro of funding.

Starting Grants

Prof. Oliver Röhrle, Institute of Applied Mechanics

Prof. Oliver Röhrle

Institute of Applied Mechanics
Projekt: Biomechanical Research for Better Leg Protheses (2012 – 2017)

As a young researcher, Oliver Röhrle used the ERC Starting Grant to intensify work he was doing in the area of modelling movement sequences in patients, whose legs had been amputated above the knee. This area of research is situated at the interface between mechanics, physiology and medicine. “The ERC Starting Grant was a fantastic confirmation of my research activities. The funding also helped me to establish my biomechanical research group on an excellent long-term footing”.

Consolidator Grants

Prof. Hans Peter Büchler, Institute of Theoretical Physics III

Prof. Hans Peter Büchler

Institute of Theoretical Physics III
Projekt: Interactions Between Photons (2016 – 2021)

Being able to control interactions between individual photons would be useful for many quantum-technological applications. Hans Peter Büchler carries out research into relevant methods. His starting point is the phenomenon of slow light by which the photons, by causing them to interact with atoms, are strongly influenced by the electronically excited state of the atoms. Once these Rydberg conditions have been achieved, the strong interaction between Rydberg atoms in turn result in an interaction between the photons.

Prof. Johannes Kästner,Institute for Theoretical Chemistry

Prof. Johannes Kästner

Institute for Theoretical Chemistry
Projekt: The Quantum-Mechanical Tunnel Effect (2015 – 2020)

Mithilfe von Simulationen untersucht Johannes Kästner den quantenmechanischen Tunneleffekt von Atomen. Dieser lässt einige chemische Reaktionen bei niedrigen Temperaturen schneller ablaufen und ermöglicht Reaktionen im eiskalten Weltraum. „Mich fasziniert der Tunneleffekt schon seit Jahren", sagt der geborene Wiener, der im Exzellenzcluster Simulation Technology (SimTech) der Universität Stuttgart forscht. „Dank der Förderung durch die EU kann ich diesen Effekt umfangreich untersuchen. Zudem konnte ich meine Forschungsgruppe deutlich vergrößern.“

Advanced Grants

Prof. Peer Fischer, Institute of Physical Chemistry / Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Prof. Peer Fischer

Institute of Physical Chemistry /
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Projekt: Holographic acoustic assembly and manipulation (2018 – 2023)

Ultrasonic sound with a wavelength of just a few hundred micrometres that spreads through water is used successfully in medical imaging applications and can also be used to capture and manipulate microparticles. Peer Fischer and his team want to use sound waves to create structures, up to and including entire organoids, out of microparticles and cells in a far simpler and quicker manner than is possible with 3D printing.

Prof. Harald Giessen, Institute of Physics IV

Prof. Harald Giessen

Institute of Physics IV
Projekt: Plasmonics at the Ultimate Limit (2013 – 2018)

Thanks to metallic nanostructures, light can be focused to tiny dimensions – much smaller than the light’s own wavelength – with the aid of nano-antennae. This has resulted in new effects in light-material interactions, for example, in the field of sensor technology. Harald Giessen is conducting research into the ultimate limits of such interactions to bridge the gap between basic and applied science as well as between the disciplines of Physics, Chemistry and Molecular Biology.

Prof. Tilman Pfau, Institute of Physics V

Prof. Tilman Pfau

Institute of Physics V
Projekt: Interactions in Quantum Gasses (2011 – 2016)

Quantum systems with long-reach interactions are enabling the creation of novel material states and quantum components, such as integrable and scalable single-photon sources and sensors. Tilman Pfau and his team are conducting research into novel quantum fluids as well as high-sensitive quantum sensors for microwaves and trace gases. They showed that atoms also react to each other so sensitively that they can sense one another over a distance of one micrometre, as a result of which they were able to demonstrate a single photon source at room temperature.

Prof. Hans­ Joachim Werner, Institute for Theoretical Chemistry

Prof. Hans Joachim Werner

Institute for Theoretical Chemistry
Projekt: Quantum-Mechanical Simulations of Molecules and Chemical Reactions (2013 – 2018)

In the course of the project, Hans-Joachim Werner and his team have developed new methods and a broad range of computer programs for calculating the electron structures of large molecules. Starting from the underlying laws of physics and natural constants, these can be used to predict the chemical and physical properties of molecules without reference to empirical data.

Prof. Jörg Wrachtrup, Institute of Physics III

Prof. Jörg Wrachtrup

Institute of Physics III
Quantum Technology with Electro-Spin (2011 – 2016)
Imaging Electrical Fields of Single Molecular Charges with Quantum Sensors (2017 – 2022)

Jörg Wrachtrup and his team used funding from the ERC Advanced Grant 2011 to investigate the potential for exploiting atomic defects in diamonds for quantum-technological purposes, whereby they succeeded in establishing new quantum sensor sensitivity records – even in ambient conditions. “With the second grant in 2017, I would like to use the new grant to show how it is possible to use quantum sensors to trace electrical fields with a hitherto unparalleled sensitivity and spatial resolution and to use this, for example, to track individual electrical charges. I am especially pleased about receiving an additional proof-of-concept grant, which will enable me to realize certain ideas as practical applications”.

Former ERC Prize Winners

  • Professor Clemens Bechinger (now at the University of Konstanz)
    Project: The Behaviour of Colloidal Particles (2016 – 2021)
  • Professor Lapo Bogani (now at the University of Oxford)
    Project: Optical Quantum Control of Magnetic Molecules (2014 – 2018)

  • Professor Albrecht Schmidt (now at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)
    Project: The Digital Augmentation of Human Senses (2016 – 2021)


This image shows Andrea Mayer-Grenu

Andrea Mayer-Grenu

Scientific Consultant, Research Publications

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