Frontiers of Matter Wave Optics 2022 in Trieste, Italy

This central meeting of the matter-wave community covers a broad range of topics from fundamentals to applications. My group contributed one talk and two posters, and we even won a poster prize! Congratulations to Carina Kanitz.

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Invited talk at SAMS5 in Cambridge, UK

I just spent four very interesting days in Cambridge, learning about the scattering of atoms and molecules from surfaces at the fifth international SAMS-Workshop. It is absolutely fascinating what you can learn about a system by probing its surface in a very gentle way with beams of atoms and molecules. And this is even more true when the conference is located at such a lovely place as Gonville & Caius College.

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Few-slit diffraction featured by Am. J. Phys.

Our paper on “Single-, double-, and triple-slit diffraction of molecular matter waves” was selected as a “Featured” article by the American Journal of Physics and is on the cover of the December 2021 issue.

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New publication in the Journal of Molecular Structure

Interactions between electronic states are omnipresent in nature as without them no chemical reaction can take place. But even when they do not lead to a reaction, their coupling can strongly influence the behaviour of a molecule after absorbing a photon. In the latest publication, we look into such an interaction between the two lowest excited singlet states of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Making use of the high sensitivity of rotationally resolved electronic spectroscopy to changes in electronic structure, we observe traces of couplings even if the two coupling states are energetically far apart.

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Few-slit diffraction with molecules

In matter-wave diffraction, we use the laws of optics to describe the behaviour of delocalized matter, be it electrons, atoms, or molecules. This entails a number of questions, such as: How do I generate a matter wave in the first place? How good is this approach? And why should you be interested in something like this?

In our latest publication, we take a pedagogical look at molecular matter-wave diffraction through a single, a double, and a triple slit to answer these questions. To do this, we compare the results in detail to the diffraction of light and discuss the similarities as well as the differences.

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Official take-off for the Institute of Quantum Technologies

Quantum technologies may shape the future of our planet in many ways, affecting the way we communicate, the questions we pose, and the answers we give. Already now, quantum effects provide the highest precision for a number of applications in metrology and sensing. So the time has come to transfer this knowledge from fundamental research to industrial applications.

This is a key challenge, and starting with today’s official inauguration the Institute of Quantum Technologies is joining in to bridge the gap. To achieve this goal, we work in close cooperation with industry and universities on several topics to bring quantum technologies to a prototype stage. Whatever the future may bring, I’m thrilled to make it a bit more quantum.

A trailer showcasing the different departments of the institute can be found here.

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The morphology of doubly-clamped graphene nanoribbons

When you pull at the two ends of a scarf, folds start to build up in the fabric. When you do the same for a ribbon made of single-layer graphene, you get folds, scrolls or just a flat membrane. How these processes depend on the dimensions of the nanoribbons is discussed in our latest publication.

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Section Editor for Data in Brief

With the beginning of this year, I’ll work as a Section Editor for “Physics and Mathematics” at Data in Brief.

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Paper on Bragg diffraction selected as Editor’s Suggestion

Our paper on Bragg diffraction was selected as Editor’s Suggestion by Phys. Rev. Lett. and featured in a Synpsios in Physics.

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Bragg diffraction of large organic molecules

Image rights: Quantum Nanophysics Group/University of Vienna


Bragg diffraction is one of the main techniques used to split and recombine atomic matter-waves. In our latest publication we transfer this technique to complex and internally hot molecules. Why this is a big step towards more efficient beam splitters and mirrors is explained here.

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