Hornberger group - Welcome
Welcome to our website
We are exploring the complex dynamics of open nanoscale quantum systems, partly in collaboration with leading experimentalists.
Current projects focus on the study of coherence and entanglement phenomena in nanomechanical systems and molecular matter waves, and on the microscopic mechanisms that effect their quantum-to-classical transition.
November 2, 2022
Two charged nanoparticles can be placed in an entangled state by feeding back a quantum-limited measurement signal, enabling high-precision force measurements.
September 15, 2022
Sapphire in a macroscopic quantum state
A sapphire crystal can be prepared in a highly macroscopic quantum state, as demonstrated in collaboration with experimenters at ETH Zurich.
August 26, 2022
Optically induced non-reciprocal interactions between nanoparticles
Particles trapped by phase-coherent optical tweezers can exert forces on each other that appear to violate Newton's third law, as demonstrated in collaboration with experimenters at the University of Vienna.
This work has been featured in Nature, Science and Physics World.
August 24, 2022
Surface-induced decoherence of charged particles
Macroscopic quantum electrodynamics predicts the loss of quantum coherence in particle motion due to nearby thermal surfaces.
August 10, 2022
Benjamin Stickler in the Heisenberg program
The German Research Foundation included Benjamin Stickler in its prestigious Heisenberg program.
August 8, 2022
We have a postdoctoral position available on quantum interference with large molecules and nanoparticles, matter wave decoherence, and precision sensing. [More info..]
Juni 29, 2022
PD Benjamin Sticker
Benjamin Stickler has been appointed as a Privatdozent by the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Febryary 28, 2022
Recognition as Outstanding Referee
Klaus Hornberger has been designated as Outstanding Referee by the American Physical Society.
Febryary 2, 2022
Interferometric control of nanorotor alignment
A quantum interference effect allows steering freely flying objects from fully aligned to completely antialigned using a weak laser pulse.
Physical Review A 105 (2022) L021502 (Letter)
December 1, 2021
Benjamin Sticker becomes member of the NRW Academy of Sciences
As of January 1. 2022, Benjamin Stickler will become a member of the Young College of the North Rhine-Westphalia Academy for Sciences and Arts.
July 8, 2021
Filip Kiałka, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Filip Kiałka received a Ph.D. from the Universitiy of Duisburg-Essen and the Universitiy of Vienna for his bi-national dissertation Talbot-Lau Schemes and Bragg Diffraction: Theory and Applications in High-Mass Matter-Wave Interferometry.
June 29, 2021
Quantum rotations of nanoparticles
Our review article on quantum effects in the rotational dynamics of nanoparticles appeared in Nature Reviews Physics.
April 23, 2021
Nanoparticles in the quantum ground state
An elliptically polarized laser beam tuned to an optical cavity can cool a nanoparticle to the quantum groundstate of its rotational and linear motion.
Physical Review Letters 126, 163603 (2021)
The underlying theory, which can be found in Phys. Rev. A 103, 043514 (2021), was designated as an Editor's Suggestion.
December 11, 2020
Quantum electromechanics with charged nanoparticles
Nanoparticles levitating in a Paul trap can be prepared and observed in quantum superposition by interfacing the endcap electrodes with a Cooper-pair box.
npj Quantum Information 6,101 (2020)
How to achive the necessary all-electric cooling of the center-of-mass and rotation dynamics can be found in New J. Phys. 23, 093001 (2021).
July 16, 2020
A Beam Splitter for Large Organic Molecules
The demonstration of Bragg diffraction of organic molecules off a standing laser beam paves the way to molecular interferometers with large path separation.
Physical Review Letters 125, 033604 (2020)
This article was designated as an Editor's Suggestion by Physical Review Letters, and has been featured in Physics and in Chemistry World.
June 6, 2020
Dissertation Award for Björn Schrinski
Björn Schrinski was awarded the prize for the best PhD thesis from the Faculty of Physics. The award certificate was bestowed by the Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Prof. Ulrich Radtke, at the Dies Academicus.
June 6, 2020
Thesis Award for Henning Rudolph
Henning Rudolph was awarded the prize for the best master thesis from the Faculty of Physics. The award certificate was bestowed by the Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Prof. Ulrich Radtke, at the Dies Academicus.
May 6, 2020
Orbital angular momentum interference
A novel interference scheme for matter waves is based on the quanitzation of orbital anular momentum.
Physical Review Research 2, 022030 (2020) (Rapid Communication)
February 29, 2020
Poster award for Björn Schrinski
Björn Schrinski received the Best Poster Award for his poster presentation on the International Conference on Quantum Optics 2020.
January 29, 2020
Entangling levitated nanoparticles
An entangeld quantum state of two nanoparticles can be realistically demonstrated by levitating them with optical tweezers in a laser cavity.
Physical Review A 101, 011804 (2020) (Rapid Communication)
October 25, 2019
Marduk Bolaños Puchet, Ph.D.
Habemus etiam doctorem! Marduk Bolaños received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Physics for his dissertation on the Decoherence of non-relativistic bosonic quantum fields.
September 24, 2019
Björn Schrinski, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Björn Schrinski received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Physics for his dissertation on Assessing the macroscopicity of quantum mechanical superposition tests via hypothesis falsification.
September 16, 2019
Schrödinger's cat put on the scale
We establish an objective scheme to determine the degree of macroscopicity reached in quantum mechanical superposition tests, i.e. the size of an experimentally realized Schrödinger's cat. Based on the Bayesian falsification of macrorealistic modifications, it uses the raw data of an experiment, taking into account all measurement uncertainties.
Physical Review A 100, 032111 (2019)
Applying the measure to advanced matter-wave experiments with Bose-Einstein-condensed atoms and large molecules shows that these reach the highest macroscpicities:
29 Jul - 1 Aug 2019
Workshop on Levitated Optomechanics
A WE-Heraeus seminar on Levitated Optomechanicswas held at Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany on 29 Jul - 1 Aug 2019 (organized by K. Hornberger, J. Millen, and M. Arndt).
The seminar brought together leading scientists and young researchers working on the control of nanoparticles suspended in vacuum by optical or electric forces. The most recent advances were discussed of cooling untethered nano-mechanical systems into the quantum regime and of observing their rotranslational motion in the quantum-classical borderlands, as well as the perspectives of harnessing their coherent quantum dynamics for fundamental experiments and technological applications.
June 27, 2019
Decoherence of quantum fields
We present a generic description of the quantum-to-classical transition of non-relativistic bosonic fields.
Physical Review A 99, 060103 (2019) (Rapid Communication)
May 1, 2019
Marie Curie Fellowship for Benjamin Stickler
Benjamin A. Stickler secured a Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Fellowship from the European Union, to work for one year at Imperial College London in the group of Myungshik Kim.
November 20, 2018
Coherence of molecular superrotors
Decoherence theory explains the surprising stability of the alignment of rapidly rotating molecules, in excellent quantitative agreement with the experimental observation.
October 29, 2018
Orientational quantum superpositions of nanoscale rotors
In a recent preprint, we propose an experimentally viable scheme to probe orientational quantum revivals with nanoscale particles, an interference effect of the rotational degrees of freedom testifying a superposition of all orientations. This opens the door to tests of rotational quantum physics with submicron objects and to quantum gyroscopic torque sensors.
New Journal of Physics 20, 122001 (2018) (Fast Track Communication)
September 17, 2018
Conformer-selection by matter-wave interference
In almost all larger molecules, the spatial arrangement of the atoms can show up in different geometries, even with all binding links equal. We show that such conformers can be selected from a mixture using a matter-wave interferometer.
July 3, 2018
Best Talk Award for Björn Schrinski
At the Bayesian Young Statisticians Meeting (BAYSM 2018) in Warwick (UK) Björn Schrinski gave a lecture entitled "Towards Bayesian hypothesis testing of macrorealistic modifications of quantum mechanics", and he duly received a Best Talk Award for his presentation.
June 15, 2018
Rotational friction and diffusion of quantum rotors
We present the general quantum description of friction, diffusion, decoherence, and thermalization in the rotational motion of rigid bodies. In the semiclassical limit, one obtains the classical Fokker-Planck equation for the rotational dynamics of a top.
June 15, 2018
Thesis Award for Lukas Martinetz
Lukas Martinetz was awarded the prize for the best master thesis from the Faculty of Physics. The award certificate was presented by the Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Prof. Ulrich Radtke, during the Dies Academicus ceremony.
May 11, 2018
Gas-induced friction and diffusion of classical rigid rotors
The impact of a rarefid gas on the coupled rotational and translational motion of arbitrarily shaped particles can be predicted microscopically from the Boltzmann equation, yielding the associated friction and diffusion tensors.
Physical Review E 97, 052112 (2018)
This article was designated as an Editor's Suggestion by Physical Review E.
December 7, 2017
Quantum Angular Momentum Diffusion of Nanoparticles
The rotational quantum dynamics of an arbitrarily shaped nanoparticle exhibits angular momentum diffusion due to the interaction with environmental gases and background fields.
New Journal of Physics 19, 122001 (2017) [Fast Track Communication]
This article was designated as Highlight 2017 by New Journal of Physics.
November 22, 2017
A nanoscale clock with precise dials
Suitably modulated laser beams imprint the precision of an electronic clock onto the intrinsically chaotic angular motion of a levitated nanoscale dial.
March 13, 2017
Optical Control of Levitated Nanorods
The ro-translational motion of silicon nanorods can be detected and manipulated by laser light in an optical cavity.
November 4, 2016
Kai Walter, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Kai Walter received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Physics for his dissertation on Coherence and Decoherence in High-mass Matter-wave Interferometry.
October 14, 2016
Rotranslational Cavity Cooling of Dielectric Rods and Disks
Nonspherical nanoparticles can be cooled to the quantum regime of their center-of-mass and rotational motion.Physical Review A 94, 033818 (2016)
October 10, 2016
Lutz Sörgel, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Lutz Sörgel received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Physics for his dissertation on Pointer state dynamics of dissipative quantum systems.
September 10, 2016
Björn Schrinski Receives Poster Award
Björn Schrinski presented his poster entitled Interference of Bose-Einstein Condensates under the Influence of Decoherence at the Conference Frontiers in Matter Wave Optics (FOMF2016) in Arcachon, France, and he received a poster award for his contribution.
July 4, 2016
Attending Bill Phillips' Master Class
Benjamin Stickler attended this year's Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting at Lake Constance, and presented his research results in Bill Phillips' master class. Benjamin was also one of the few young researchers selected to present their work on a poster for all participants.
June 11, 2015
Coherent photoabsorption in a molecule interferometer
The absorption of individual photons by large molecules gives rise to surprising coherence effects which can be observed in a matter wave interferometer.
Nature Communications 6, 7336 (2015)
December 4, 2014
Stefan Nimmrichter receives Award of Excellence 2014
Stefan Nimmrichter was granted the Award of Excellence by the Federal Minister for Science, Research, and Commerce of the Republic of Austria.
September 2, 2014
Near-field interferometry of a free-falling nanoparticle from a point-like source
Our proposal for a near-field interference scheme for 106 amu silicon particles based on the single-source Talbot effect appeared in Nature Communications. It would allow testing the quantum superposition principle at unrivaled scales.
August 6, 2014
Felix Lucas, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Felix Lucas received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Physics for his dissertation on Adaptive Resummation of Markovian Quantum Dynamics.
August 5, 2014
Incoherent Control of the Retinal Isomerization
The back-action of quantum measurements can provide a handle for controling relatively complex quantum systems. This is demonstrated by means of an important bio-chemical reaction, the photo-induced isomerization of retinal in the protein rhodopsin.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 058301 (2014)
Optomechanical sensing of spontaneous wave-function collapse
Hypothetical modifications of the Schrödinger equation, which serve to destroy superpositions on macroscopic scales, can be sensed by monitoring a test mass. Surprisingly, this mass should not be much greater than a few picogramms.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 020405 (2014)
April 29, 2014
Timo Fischer, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Timo Fischer received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Physics for his dissertation Decoherence of the Orientation State.
April 1, 2014
Testing the limits of quantum mechanical superpositions
A review article on tests of the quantum superposition principle in increasingly macroscopic systems appeared in Nature Physics.
Nature Phys. 10, 271-277 (2014)
This is part of a dedicated issue, a Nature Physics Insight, on the foundations of quantum mechanics.
January 15, 2014
Adaptive Resummation of Markovian Quantum Dynamics
Our method for deriving analytic approximations for the dynamics of open quantum systems appeared in Physical Review Letters.
Phys. Rev. Lett 110, 240401 (2013)
A more detailled article discusses the convergence properties and the numerical implementation of the resummation: Phys. Rev. A 89, 012112 (2014)
Dezember 30, 2013
Quantum mechanics in curved phase spaces
Our consistent extension of the Wigner-Weyl-Moyal phase-space formulation of quantum mechanics to general curved configuration spaces appeared in Physical Review A.
October 29, 2013
Stefan Nimmrichter, Ph.D.
Habemus doctorem! Stefan Nimmrichter received a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna for his dissertation on Macroscopic matter wave interferometry.
The work was awarded a Springer Thesis Prize,and it will be published as a Springer Thesis — 'Recognizing Outstanding Ph.D. Research'.
July 9, 2013
Nonlocal Young tests with Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen-correlated particle pairs
Nonlocal interference based on EPR-correlated particles allows one to detect entanglement and non-classical particle behavior using simple position measurements.
June 7, 2013
Wigner function for the orientation state
Our extension of the Wigner-Weyl phase space representation to the rotation dynamics of solid quantum objects appeared in New Journal of Physics.
April 18, 2013
Macroscopicity of mechanical quantum superposition states
Our proposal for an experimentally accessible, objective, and universal measure for the macroscopicity of superposition states in material quantum systems appeared in Physical Review Letters.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 160403 (2013)
Feature articles on this work can be found in New Scientist (Quantum effects get a weirdness scale), in Physics World (How fat is Schrödinger’s cat?) and in Physics (Quantumness put on the scale). See also phys.org (Physicists propose measure of macroscopicity) und phsycs.com (Physicists introduce magnitude of macroscopicity).
May 12th - 17th, 2013
Summer school on tests of the quantum superposition principle
A summer school on Exploring the quantum superposition principle took place at the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef (near Bonn/Germany) on May 12th-17th, 2013. Further information is available at the school website.
Organizers: M. Arndt (U Vienna), K. Hornberger (U Duisburg-Essen)
Generous funding is provided by the Wilhem & Else Heraeus Foundation
February 7th, 2013
Kickoff meeting of NANOQUESTFIT collaboration
The kickoff meeting of the NANOQUESTFIT collaboration took place at Campus Duisburg, MG 465 on February 7th and 8th. A goal of this EU research project (ICT FET Open STREP) is to use matter wave interferometry of large molecules and clusters to probe the limits of the quantum superposition principle.
Feb 8, 2012
Quantum interference of clusters and molecules
Our review article on matter wave interferometry of complex organic molecules and inorganic clusters appeared in Reviews of Modern Physics.
It has been reviewed by Mark Buchanan in Nature Physics.