Tilman Esslinger

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Tilman Esslinger
ETH-BIB-Esslinger, Tilman (1965-)-Portr 19735.jpg
Tilman Esslinger (2019)
Alma mater University of Munich
Known for Ultracold quantum gases, optical lattices, Mott insulators, experimental realization of the topological Haldane model
Scientific career
Fields Physicist
Institutions ETH Zurich
Doctoral advisor Theodor Hänsch
Website www.quantumoptics.ethz.ch

Tilman Esslinger is a German experimental physicist. He is Professor at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and works in the field of ultracold quantum gases and optical lattices.



Tilman Esslinger received his PhD in physics from the University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Germany, in 1995. In his doctoral research he worked under the supervision of Theodor Hänsch on subrecoil laser cooling and optical lattices. He then build up his own group in Hänsch’s lab and conducted pioneering work on atom lasers, [1] observed long-range phase coherence in a Bose–Einstein condensate, [2] and realized the superfluid to Mott-insulator transition with a Bose gas in an optical lattice. [3] [4] Following his habilitation, Esslinger was in October 2001 appointed full professor at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where he pioneered one-dimensional atomic quantum gases, [5] Fermi–Hubbard models with atoms, [6] a quantum-gas analogue of the topological Haldane model [7] and the merger of quantum gas experiments with cavity quantum electrodynamics. [8]


The work of Esslinger and his group has stimulated an interdisciplinary exchange between the condensed-matter and quantum-gas communities. Recent notable results include the development of a quantum simulator for graphene, [9] setting up of a cavity-optomechanical system in which the Dicke quantum phase transition to a superradiant state has been observed for the first time, [10] as well as creation of a cold-atom analogue of mesoscopic conductors [11] and observation of the onset of superfluidity in that system. [12] Esslinger received a Phillip Morris Research Prize (shared with Theodor Hänsch and Immanuel Bloch) in 2000 and currently holds an ERC advanced grant. He is an author on more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, which have been cited more than 8000 times (as of March 2013).

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bose–Einstein condensate</span> State of matter

In condensed matter physics, a Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter that is typically formed when a gas of bosons at very low densities is cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero. Under such conditions, a large fraction of bosons occupy the lowest quantum state, at which point microscopic quantum mechanical phenomena, particularly wavefunction interference, become apparent macroscopically. A BEC is formed by cooling a gas of extremely low density to ultra-low temperatures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Supersolid</span> State of matter

In condensed matter physics, a supersolid is a spatially ordered material with superfluid properties. In the case of helium-4, it has been conjectured since the 1960s that it might be possible to create a supersolid. Starting from 2017, a definitive proof for the existence of this state was provided by several experiments using atomic Bose–Einstein condensates. The general conditions required for supersolidity to emerge in a certain substance are a topic of ongoing research.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fermionic condensate</span> State of matter

A fermionic condensate is a superfluid phase formed by fermionic particles at low temperatures. It is closely related to the Bose–Einstein condensate, a superfluid phase formed by bosonic atoms under similar conditions. The earliest recognized fermionic condensate described the state of electrons in a superconductor; the physics of other examples including recent work with fermionic atoms is analogous. The first atomic fermionic condensate was created by a team led by Deborah S. Jin using potassium-40 atoms at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2003.

In physics, a Tonks–Girardeau gas is a Bose gas in which the repulsive interactions between bosonic particles confined to one dimension dominate the system's physics. It is named after physicists Marvin D. Girardeau and Lewi Tonks. It is not a Bose–Einstein condensate as it does not demonstrate any of the necessary characteristics, such as off-diagonal long-range order or a unitary two-body correlation function, even in a thermodynamic limit and as such cannot be described by a macroscopically occupied orbital in the Gross–Pitaevskii formulation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rudolf Grimm</span>

Rudolf Grimm is an experimental physicist from Austria. His work centres on ultracold atoms and quantum gases. He was the first scientist worldwide who, with his team, succeeded in realizing a Bose–Einstein condensation of molecules.

An atom laser is a coherent state of propagating atoms. They are created out of a Bose–Einstein condensate of atoms that are output coupled using various techniques. Much like an optical laser, an atom laser is a coherent beam that behaves like a wave. There has been some argument that the term "atom laser" is misleading. Indeed, "laser" stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation which is not particularly related to the physical object called an atom laser, and perhaps describes more accurately the Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC). The terminology most widely used in the community today is to distinguish between the BEC, typically obtained by evaporation in a conservative trap, from the atom laser itself, which is a propagating atomic wave obtained by extraction from a previously realized BEC. Some ongoing experimental research tries to obtain directly an atom laser from a "hot" beam of atoms without making a trapped BEC first.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Optical lattice</span> Atomic-scale structure formed through the Stark shift by opposing beams of light

An optical lattice is formed by the interference of counter-propagating laser beams, creating a spatially periodic polarization pattern. The resulting periodic potential may trap neutral atoms via the Stark shift. Atoms are cooled and congregate at the potential extrema. The resulting arrangement of trapped atoms resembles a crystal lattice and can be used for quantum simulation.

The Bose–Hubbard model gives a description of the physics of interacting spinless bosons on a lattice. It is closely related to the Hubbard model that originated in solid-state physics as an approximate description of superconducting systems and the motion of electrons between the atoms of a crystalline solid. The model was introduced by Gersch and Knollman in 1963 in the context of granular superconductors. The model rose to prominence in the 1980s after it was found to capture the essence of the superfluid-insulator transition in a way that was much more mathematically tractable than fermionic metal-insulator models.

Ultracold atoms are atoms that are maintained at temperatures close to 0 kelvin, typically below several tens of microkelvin (µK). At these temperatures the atom's quantum-mechanical properties become important.

Atomtronics is the emerging quantum technology of matter-wave circuits which coherently guide propagating ultra-cold atoms. The systems typically include components analogous to those found in electronic or optical systems, such as beam splitters and transistors. Applications range from studies of fundamental physics to the development of practical devices.

Markus Greiner is a German physicist and Professor of Physics at Harvard University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Superfluidity</span> State of matter

Superfluidity is the characteristic property of a fluid with zero viscosity which therefore flows without any loss of kinetic energy. When stirred, a superfluid forms vortices that continue to rotate indefinitely. Superfluidity occurs in two isotopes of helium when they are liquefied by cooling to cryogenic temperatures. It is also a property of various other exotic states of matter theorized to exist in astrophysics, high-energy physics, and theories of quantum gravity. The theory of superfluidity was developed by Soviet theoretical physicists Lev Landau and Isaak Khalatnikov.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Time crystal</span> Structure that repeats in time; a novel type or phase of non-equilibrium matter

In condensed matter physics, a time crystal is a quantum system of particles whose lowest-energy state is one in which the particles are in repetitive motion. The system cannot lose energy to the environment and come to rest because it is already in its quantum ground state. Because of this, the motion of the particles does not really represent kinetic energy like other motion; it has "motion without energy". Time crystals were first proposed theoretically by Frank Wilczek in 2012 as a time-based analogue to common crystals – whereas the atoms in crystals are arranged periodically in space, the atoms in a time crystal are arranged periodically in both space and time. Several different groups have demonstrated matter with stable periodic evolution in systems that are periodically driven. In terms of practical use, time crystals may one day be used as quantum computer memory.

Immanuel Bloch is a German experimental physicist. His research is focused on the investigation of quantum many-body systems using ultracold atomic and molecular quantum gases. Bloch is known for his work on atoms in artificial crystals of light, optical lattices, especially the first realization of a quantum phase transition from a weakly interacting superfluid to a strongly interacting Mott insulating state of matter.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Quantum simulator</span> Simulators of quantum mechanical systems

Quantum simulators permit the study of a quantum system in a programmable fashion. In this instance, simulators are special purpose devices designed to provide insight about specific physics problems. Quantum simulators may be contrasted with generally programmable "digital" quantum computers, which would be capable of solving a wider class of quantum problems.

Bose–Einstein condensation can occur in quasiparticles, particles that are effective descriptions of collective excitations in materials. Some have integer spins and can be expected to obey Bose–Einstein statistics like traditional particles. Conditions for condensation of various quasiparticles have been predicted and observed. The topic continues to be an active field of study.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gerhard Rempe</span>

Gerhard Rempe is a German physicist, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and Honorary Professor at the Technical University of Munich. He has performed pioneering experiments in atomic and molecular physics, quantum optics and quantum information processing.

Bose–Einstein condensation of polaritons is a growing field in semiconductor optics research, which exhibits spontaneous coherence similar to a laser, but through a different mechanism. A continuous transition from polariton condensation to lasing can be made similar to that of the crossover from a Bose–Einstein condensate to a BCS state in the context of Fermi gases. Polariton condensation is sometimes called “lasing without inversion”.

Randall Gardner Hulet is an American physicist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monika Aidelsburger</span> German quantum physicist

Monika Aidelsburger is a German quantum physicist, Professor and Group Leader at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her research considers quantum simulation and ultra cold atomic gases trapped in optical lattices. In 2021, she was awarded both the Alfried-Krupp-Förderpreis and Klung Wilhelmy Science Award.


  1. Bloch, Immanuel; Hänsch, Theodor W.; Esslinger, Tilman (1999-04-12). "Atom Laser with a cw Output Coupler". Physical Review Letters. American Physical Society (APS). 82 (15): 3008–3011. arXiv: cond-mat/9812258 . Bibcode:1999PhRvL..82.3008B. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.82.3008. ISSN   0031-9007. S2CID   119408594.
  2. Bloch, I.; Hänsch, T. W.; Esslinger, T. (2000). "Measurement of the spatial coherence of a trapped Bose gas at the phase transition". Nature. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 403 (6766): 166–170. Bibcode:2000Natur.403..166B. doi:10.1038/35003132. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   10646595. S2CID   4427668.
  3. Greiner, Markus; Bloch, Immanuel; Mandel, Olaf; Hänsch, Theodor W.; Esslinger, Tilman (2001-10-01). "Exploring Phase Coherence in a 2D Lattice of Bose-Einstein Condensates". Physical Review Letters. American Physical Society (APS). 87 (16): 160405. arXiv: cond-mat/0105105 . Bibcode:2001PhRvL..87p0405G. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.87.160405. ISSN   0031-9007. PMID   11690192. S2CID   26265081.
  4. Greiner, Markus; Mandel, Olaf; Esslinger, Tilman; Hänsch, Theodor W.; Bloch, Immanuel (2002). "Quantum phase transition from a superfluid to a Mott insulator in a gas of ultracold atoms". Nature. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 415 (6867): 39–44. Bibcode:2002Natur.415...39G. doi:10.1038/415039a. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   11780110. S2CID   4411344.
  5. Stöferle, Thilo; Moritz, Henning; Schori, Christian; Köhl, Michael; Esslinger, Tilman (2004-03-31). "Transition from a Strongly Interacting 1D Superfluid to a Mott Insulator". Physical Review Letters. 92 (13): 130403. arXiv: cond-mat/0312440 . Bibcode:2004PhRvL..92m0403S. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.92.130403. ISSN   0031-9007. PMID   15089587. S2CID   34141301.
  6. Esslinger, Tilman (2010-08-10). "Fermi-Hubbard Physics with Atoms in an Optical Lattice". Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics. Annual Reviews. 1 (1): 129–152. arXiv: 1007.0012 . Bibcode:2010ARCMP...1..129E. doi:10.1146/annurev-conmatphys-070909-104059. ISSN   1947-5454. S2CID   119274107.
  7. Jotzu, Gregor; Messer, Michael; Desbuquois, Rémi; Lebrat, Martin; Uehlinger, Thomas; et al. (2014). "Experimental realization of the topological Haldane model with ultracold fermions". Nature. 515 (7526): 237–240. arXiv: 1406.7874 . Bibcode:2014Natur.515..237J. doi:10.1038/nature13915. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   25391960. S2CID   204898338.
  8. Brennecke, Ferdinand; Donner, Tobias; Ritter, Stephan; Bourdel, Thomas; Köhl, Michael; Esslinger, Tilman (2007). "Cavity QED with a Bose–Einstein condensate". Nature. 450 (7167): 268–271. arXiv: 0706.3411 . Bibcode:2007Natur.450..268B. doi:10.1038/nature06120. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   17994093. S2CID   4405139.
  9. Tarruell, Leticia; Greif, Daniel; Uehlinger, Thomas; Jotzu, Gregor; Esslinger, Tilman (2012). "Creating, moving and merging Dirac points with a Fermi gas in a tunable honeycomb lattice". Nature. 483 (7389): 302–305. arXiv: 1111.5020 . Bibcode:2012Natur.483..302T. doi:10.1038/nature10871. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   22422263. S2CID   4368258.
  10. Baumann, Kristian; Guerlin, Christine; Brennecke, Ferdinand; Esslinger, Tilman (2010). "Dicke quantum phase transition with a superfluid gas in an optical cavity". Nature. 464 (7293): 1301–1306. arXiv: 0912.3261 . Bibcode:2010Natur.464.1301B. doi:10.1038/nature09009. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   20428162. S2CID   205220396.
  11. Brantut, J.-P.; Meineke, J.; Stadler, D.; Krinner, S.; Esslinger, T. (2012-08-02). "Conduction of Ultracold Fermions Through a Mesoscopic Channel". Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 337 (6098): 1069–1071. arXiv: 1203.1927 . Bibcode:2012Sci...337.1069B. doi:10.1126/science.1223175. ISSN   0036-8075. PMID   22859818. S2CID   143934.
  12. Stadler, David; Krinner, Sebastian; Meineke, Jakob; Brantut, Jean-Philippe; Esslinger, Tilman (2012). "Observing the drop of resistance in the flow of a superfluid Fermi gas". Nature. 491 (7426): 736–739. arXiv: 1210.1426 . Bibcode:2012Natur.491..736S. doi:10.1038/nature11613. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   23192151. S2CID   4391706.