• Brain City Berlin

Alexander von Humboldt-Professorship for Prof. Dr. Arno Rauschenbeutel

16.06.2017 | ​​​​​​​The HU Berlin’s nominee, physicist Arno Rauschenbeutel was selected for Germany’s most highly endowed research prize.

HU Berlin has been awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. The prestigious research prize was awarded to the physicist Prof. Dr. Arno Rauschenbeutel. The 46-year-old is currently teaching and conducting research at the University of Vienna. The prize has an endowment of up to EUR 5 million. Prof. Dr Arno Rauschenbeutel is conducting research in the field of experimental quantum optics. One of his key projects includes the coupling of individual atoms and photons with the same kind of optical fibres that are currently also used for data transfer.

Basic research into quantum cryptography

Quantum cryptography as a secure encryption method of the future is one of the key application areas for quantum research. Light photons in various quantum states might be used in the future, for example, to transmit information completely securely. This basic research is being conducted at the intersection of nanophotonics and quantum optics. Arno Rauschenbeutel is one of the world’s leading researchers in this field, having succeeded in capturing atoms near the surface of glass fibres by transmitting light through ultra-thin fibres with a diameter smaller than the light wavelength. The light entering and leaving the fibre during its oscillations captures and holds atoms. The findings from his experiments might be used to develop new kinds of optical sensors or completely secure glass fibres.

Green light for the ‘Berlin Joint Lab for Photonic Quantum Technologies’

This successful approach is a landmark for quantum optics technology, which aims to take advantage of the fundamental effects of quantum physics for specific new applications. The Arno Rauschenbeutel’s professorship in ‘Fundamentals of Optics and Photonics’ is also the green light for the ‘Berlin Joint Lab for Photonic Quantum Technologies’. The lab will combine the peerless expertise in photonics, optics and microsystem technology with basic research into quantum physics at the Humboldt University of Berlin’s (HU) technology and science campus in Berlin-Adlershof. Through close cooperation between the Institute of Physics, IRIS Adlershof and third-party research institutions – in particular the Ferdinand Braun Institute – the aim is to integrate research and to advance practical quantum systems which can then be used directly on site at local high-tech companies. This allows HU also to position itself as a driving force for new photonic quantum technologies in preparation for the EU’s new multibillion-euro Quantum Technologies programme.


About Prof. Dr Arno Rauschenbeutel

Prof. Dr. Arno Rauschenbeutel was born in Germany in 1971. He earned his doctorate under Nobel prize winner Serge Haroche in Paris. He is a professor and leader of the ‘Applied Quantum Physics’ group at the Atom Institute (ATI) of the TU Wien in Vienna, Austria, where he started work in 2010. Arno Rauschenbeutel has previously held professorships in Mainz and Bonn. He has also worked in Paris, London and Düsseldorf. His research interests lie in the link between nuclear and quantum physics and nanophotonics. Accordingly, he is interested in studying the fundamentals of interaction between light and materials, as well as innovative uses in quantum information processing. He has received numerous prestigious awards, including the European Young Investigator Award from the European Science Foundation in 2006 and an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council in 2014. 


About the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

Each year the Humboldt Foundation awards the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship to up to ten world-leading researchers in all disciplines working abroad. It is the most generously endowed German research prize, and its aim is to give German universities the opportunity to offer top talent globally competitive conditions and improve their own profile in the competitive global market. Aside from the candidates’ outstanding scientific qualifications, the universities’ concepts are therefore crucial. These should open up long-term prospects for scientists and their teams in terms of their research in Germany. The award is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The current winners were selected from a total of 15 nominated scientists from Denmark, France, the UK, Israel, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA. They are now entering into appointment negotiations with the German universities that nominated them for the prize. Should the scientists accept the Humboldt Professorship, they will receive the prize in May 2018.