Professor Jörg Wrachtrup, Head of the 3 rd Institute of Physics at the University of Stuttgart, as well as Professor Fedor Jelezko (University of Ulm) are the winners of the prestigious ZEISS Research Award 2016. They were recognized for their excellent work on quantum technology based on the interaction between light with electron spins in diamonds. The award will be presented in the course of the ZEISS symposium that will take place for the first time on 23 rd June 2016 in the ZEISS Forum in Oberkochen.
The ZEISS Research Award is presented every two years and is now endowed with prize money of 40,000 Euros. The chosen candidates have already demonstrated excellent achievements in the field of optics or photonics. They are now active in research and their work displays great potential for further findings and practical applications.
The research work by Jörg Wrachtrup focuses on diamonds. However, instead of being interested in their value as a gemstone, he uses them as a component for new types of computers. To do this Wrachtrup integrates foreign atoms in the diamond lattice in a targeted way. These give the otherwise colorless stones a certain color shade. These colors make the diamonds particularly valuable even in the case of the gemstones. However, the foreign atoms have a special value for Wrachtrup. The diamond namely shields them in a particularly effective way from disturbing environmental influences. Through this their quantum states, which normally require especially elaborate apparatus to observe them, are visible even under environmental conditions. These can then be used to be able to process information quickly or to transfer it in a bug proof way. Recently Wrachtrup and his work groups discovered that very different things could be done with these diamonds. The scientists namely succeeded in proving that sensors can be built with diamonds that promise pioneering applications, for example in medical technology for tumor diagnosis or as a navigation aid for driverless cars. Recently the science council approved funds with the purpose of building a research centre at the University of Stuttgart in which Wrachtrup and colleagues intend to transfer this invention into applications.
Five awards in five years
Jörg Wrachtrup, born 1961 in Herford, has been the Head of the 3 rd Institute of Physics at the University of Stuttgart since January 2000 and has been a fellow of the Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research since 2011. The ZEISS Research Award is already the fifth outstanding award in the space of five years for the renowned scientist: in 2011 the European Research Council presented him with an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant, followed a mere one year later by what is considered the “German Nobel Prize”, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation. In 2014 he was awarded the Bruker Prize by the Royal Society of Chemistry; in the same year the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max-Plank-Gesellschaft commended him by awarding him the Max-Plank Research Prize, one of the most highly-endowed prizes in Germany.
Fedor Jelezko, today Head of the Institute of Quantum Optics at the University of Ulm, researched until 2011 as a research associate at the 3 rd Institute of Physics at the University of Stuttgart together with Professor Wrachtrup. Both scientists are involved in various cooperations to date, for example in the framework of the trans-regional special research field of Control of Quantum Correlations in Tailored Matter SFB/TRR 21.
Professor Dr Jörg Wrachtrup, University of Stuttgart, 3 rd Institute of Physics Tel. 0711/685-65278, Email: j.wrachtrup (at) physik.uni-stuttgart.de
Andrea Mayer-Grenu, University of Stuttgart, Department of University Communication, Tel. 0711/685-82176, Email: andrea.mayer-grenu (at) hkom.uni-stuttgart.de