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Körber Prize 2013

Research award for Immanuel Bloch

Munich, 06/18/2013

Immanuel Bloch, Professor of Experimental Physics at LMU Munich and director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, has won this year’s Körber Prize for Science, which is worth 750,000 euros.

In awarding its annual Prize for European Science to experimental physicist Professor Immanuel Bloch, the Körber Foundation honor’s his seminal contributions to the establishment of a new field of research, located at the interface between quantum optics, quantum computing and condensed-matter physics.

Rather than taking a material and trying to probe it with better and better microscopes, Bloch follows a radically different approach in his research: by overlapping several laser beams, a perfectly ordered artificial crystal of light is formed through optical interference. Ultracold atoms at nanokelvin temperatures close to absolute zero can be trapped in these microscopic crystal structures. The resulting spacing between the thousands of microscopic light traps is in the micrometer range, thereby making these optical crystals highly accessible. Lattice structures, interactions, and many other parameters of this artificial model system can be fully and dynamically manipulated in the experiment. Such artificial materials have enabled fundamental studies of interacting many-body systems and have the potential to shed new light on collective quantum phenomena such as superconductivity or magnetism.

Recently his research team has been able to develop novel imaging techniques that allow one to directly take ultra-high resolution photographs of atoms in optical lattices in which each individual atom in the quantum system can be revealed and controlled.

Next to providing fundamental insight into the organizational principles underlying our material world, the research results achieved by his team can also have impact in the field of quantum metrology and quantum information processing.

Professor Immanuel Bloch obtained his doctorate for research performed under the direction of Professor Theodor Hänsch at LMU, who would later win the Nobel Prize for Physics. In 2008 Bloch was appointed a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, where he heads the Division for Quantum Many-Body Systems, and he has held the Chair of QuantumOptics at LMU since 2009. He has previously received a number of important awards for research, including the Leibniz Prize bestowed by the DeutscheForschungsgemeinschaft in 2005. More recently, he won the 2012 Hector Prize for Science.

For further information, visit the Körber Foundation website:

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