The Institut für Quantenoptik focuses on applied and fundamental research in laser physics and the interaction of light and matter. The systems under investigation range from individual cold atoms and molcules all the way to living biological organisms, such as the eye.
Laser light is the unifying tool used in all of this research and the central scientific therefore answer some of the following important questions:
- How can current laser systems be improved in their performance?
- How can laser light be used in medical and biological applications?
- How can light be used to understand the building blocks of nature such as atoms and molecules?
- Can we use laser light to understand the unusual world of quantum physics?
- How can we build the best quantum sensors based on these technologies?
Since these scientific topics include both fundamental and applied research, the scientific work at the Institut für Quantenoptik will have important practical consequences. An improved understanding of the interaction of laser light with biological samples will improve laser based eye surgery. The precise manipulation of atoms will enable the construction of high precision clocks, which form the reference for practically all measurements in physics. Short pulse lasers allow for new applications in precision manufacturing and may enable new X-ray laser sources.
Research at the Institut für Quantenoptik takes place within a dense network of local, national and international collaboration. The institute provides that link between the Leibniz Universität Hannover and the Laser Zentrum Hannover. It also holds close ties with the Physikalisch-Technischen Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig, as well as a number of international partners.
The Institut für Quantenoptik also leads a number of important joint research activities. Foremost it leads the Cluster of Excellence Centre for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research (QUEST) which is one of only 5 national clusters within physics. It has also at the heart of the Collaborative Research Centre 407 "Quantumlimited measurements with atoms, molecules and photons" and the european graduate college "Interference and Quantum Applications". It also leads a number of international projects supported by the European community and ESA.