At the 65th annual meeting of the Max Planck Society in June 2014 Peter Zoller has been elected as an “External Scientific Member” at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics. He has been nominated by Professor Ignacio Cirac, Director at MPQ and head of the Theory Division.

Only excellent scientists are being elected as candidates for this position; a long-time connection with the nominating institute is another prerequisite. As in the case of the scientific members of the institutes the appointment is preceded by a severe selection procedure. Once the candidate has been approved by the section in question the candidate is appointed by the senate of the MPG.
For many years, Prof. Peter Zoller and Prof. Ignacio Cirac have been conducting research in close cooperation in various fields of quantum optics. Since December 2012 Zoller has been cooperating with the Quantum Many-Body Systems Division of Prof. Immanuel Bloch at MPQ as a partner of the project UQUAM. Other partners of this project which is supported via an ERC synergy grant “for the investigation of ultracold quantum matter” are Prof. Jean Dalibard (Collège de France and Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Paris) and Prof. Ehud Altman (Weizmann-Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel). “We are most happy and very proud to have won Peter Zoller, an excellent scientist and most agreeable colleague, as an external scientific member of our institute”, Prof. Cirac claims. “This will even strengthen the ties and open more possibilities for further cooperation.”

The scientific interests of Prof. Zoller include the description of the interactions of atoms, molecules and ions with the electromagnetic field, the theoretical proposal of quantum computers and communication devices, the proposals to simulate many-body quantum systems with atomic systems, and the study of open and non-equilibrium quantum systems. The work of Peter Zoller is unique in the sense that he has, for the first time, made the connection between the abstract theory of quantum information and real physical systems. At the moment, there are many laboratories implementing those proposals, and there are even entire workshops dedicated to some of those topics. Highlights of his work include the first realistic proposals for quantum computers based on trapped ions, atoms in cavities, Rydberg atoms, or cold molecules, or the proposals to implement quantum networks and repeaters using atoms in cavities or atomic ensembles.
Concerning atomic many-body systems in optical lattices Peter Zoller had, for example, predicted the quantum phase transition from a superfluid to a Mott-insulator. This quantum phase transition was verified experimentally in 2001. The quantum simulation of many-body problems, which is rooted in this work, is one of the most active fields of research in quantum physics at the moment.

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