Theoretical Quantum Optics

Exploiting quantum optics for sensing and fundamental questions.

The Theoretical Quantum Optics group at the Institute of Applied Physics, TU Darmstadt, studies theoretically quantum properties of light, matter and their interaction. Our research focuses on quantum-mechanical tests of fundamental physics as well as the development of quantum technologies for sensing and metrology. High-precision measurements of gravity lead us to the interface of two fields, namely quantum mechanics and relativity, and sometimes even into space. Our interests range from quantum gases to atom optics, from nonlinear quantum-optical effects to atom interferometry, and from quantum metrology to inertial sensing. Although working on theoretical and fundamental physics, we make an effort to stay in touch with the experimental reality.

New Publication

Since elapsed time is intertwined with the trajectory of a particle, concepts like proper time cannot be easily transferred to the quantum world: Researchers at TU Darmstadt unveil the time measured by a clock during quantum tunneling.

P. Schach & E. Giese
A unified theory of tunneling times promoted by Ramsey clocks
Science Advances 10, eadl6078 (2024)

Scientist Sabine Hossenfelder reports on our article on Youtube. Additionally, our work is featured in an article What is “time” for quantum particles? by Christian J. Meier.

Recent Developments in Large Scale Quantum Detectors

Atom interferometry is a rapidly evolving field at the interface of applications and fundamental physics. Already today, some setups are exceeding the dimensions of table-top experiments. Even larger quantum sensors on the 100 or 1000-meter scale are envisioned to complement existing gravitational-wave detectors or the ongoing quest for dark matter. The Theoretical Quantum Optics group at TU Darmstadt together with its partners is actively contributing to these efforts. A workshop promoting this topic to gather institutional support for international projects and collaborations within the field resulted in a review article and a dedicated special issue, to which we contributed several articles. In this context, we have studied the atom-optical manipulation of the atoms in such devices, compared different designs of dark-matter detectors, and developed ideas how to optimally exploit the dimensions of the planned detectors. Our ideas have been highlighted by a short popular-science article in Scilight 2024, 041108 (2024) and are featured as Editor’s Pick by AVS Quantum Science.

Nobel Prize in Physics 2023

We congratulate Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier on the Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 “for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter”.

Such pulses are routinely used to implement attosecond clocks, which give access to study the effect of time in quantum tunneling processes. These concepts are directly related to our efforts in quantum tunneling, as studied in QUANTUS+ .

Our results to a generalized and unifying concept of tunneling times have been recently published in Science Advances 10, eadl6078 (2024).

Group Leader

Prof. Dr. Enno Giese leads the research group ''Theoretical Quantum Optics'' at the Institute for Applied Physics since 2021.

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