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Michael Förtsch awarded Otto Hahn Medal

Quantum researcher receives prestigious young scientist award

Michael Förtsch has been awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society (MPS) for his work in the field of experimental quantum optics. The presentation of the award will take place on June 15, 2016 during the MPS Annual General Meeting in Saarbrücken. In his Ph.D thesis Michael Frötsch researched a new method of generating quantum light which is ideally suited to the interaction with atoms.

In his research Michael Frötsch used an effect which has long been known in acoustics as the whispering gallery, a famous example of  which can be found in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Sound is transmitted very efficiently along the inside of the dome and a whispering can be heard along the entire gallery. The optical whispering gallery mode resonators which Michael Förtsch uses in his work behave in a very similar way: Light is fed into a disc-shaped crystal and propagates along the highly polished crystal rim with minimal losses, whereby the unique feature lies in the material properties of the crystal. Its non-linearity allows, in particular, non-classical light generation which is ideally suited to interaction with other physical systems such as single atoms or atomic gases. The generated light states can be efficiently and flexibly tuned within a wide wavelength range. They exhibit a very narrow-band width and simultaneously very good quantum properties.

Gerd Leuchs, Director of the Institute is pleased about the award: “Michael Förtsch has opened up new methods for research on phenomena in quantum optics and atomic physics. We are delighted with the award and wish Mr. Förtsch all the best for the future.”

After studying mathematics and physics at the FAU in Erlangen-Nürnberg, Michael Förtsch obtained his doctorate from the MPI for the Science of Light in Prof. Leuchs’ division. Within the framework of his doctorate
he conducted research at the MPL in Erlangen in Dr. Christoph Marquardt’s quantum information group as well as at the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Calgary, Canada and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology  in Boulder, Colorado. Michael Förtsch defended his Ph.D  thesis in January, 2015 in Erlangen. Since March 2015 Michael Förtsch has been working at TRUMPF GmbH  & Co. KG in corporate development with an emphasis on development of  new business areas.

Otto Hahn Medal
This is awarded annually by the MPS to young researchers for outstanding scientific achievements which they have, as a rule, achieved in connection with their doctoral thesis. Since 1978 the medal has already been awarded to 900 young researchers. The medal comes with a prize of 7,500€ and is named after the nuclear chemist and Nobel Laureate Otto Hahn who was President of the Max Planck Society from 1947 to 1960.