Albert Frisch (Photo: IQOQI / M. R. Knabl)

The IQOQI Dissertation Prize 2015 will be awarded to experimental physicist Albert Frisch, former member of Francesca Ferlaino's research group. This is the third time that this prize, valued at 1,000 Euro, is awarded. It honors scientifically outstanding accomplishments in the field of quantum physics.

The Dissertation Prize is awarded by the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) and rewards promising junior physicists for outstanding accomplishments. The prize is given to graduates of a PhD program undertaken at the University of Innsbruck for scientifically outstanding achievements in the field of quantum physics. The 2015 IQOQI Dissertation Prize goes to Albert Frisch, former member of Francesca Ferlaino’s research group, after experimental physicists Philipp Schindler and Simon Stellmer received the prize in 2013 and theoretical physicist Alexander Glätzle in 2014. Frisch is awarded for his work on dipolar quantum gases of erbium.

Efficient and robust approach

The preparation of the first Bose-Einstein condensate about two decades ago and the first degenerate Fermi gas four years later opened up new avenues for the investigation of a plethora of fascinating quantum phenomena. Initially, the majority of these experiments were focused on quantum degenerate atomic gases with short-range contact interaction between particles. Atoms with large magnetic dipole moments such as chromium, dysprosium and erbium have attracted attention in research circles only recently. Dipole interaction is not only long-range but also anisotropic in character and imprints qualitatively novel features on the system. In his dissertation, Albert Frisch reports on the creation and study of the first Bose-Einstein condensate and the first degenerate Fermi gas of erbium atoms. Erbium belongs to the lanthanide group of elements and has a strong magnetic moment. Frisch describes the experimental apparatus and the sequence for producing a dipolar quantum gas. In particular, he reports on the production of the narrow-line magneto-optical trap of erbium, which represents a very efficient and robust laser-cooling scheme that significantly simplifies the experimental procedure. After describing the experimental setup his thesis focuses on several fundamental questions related to the dipolar character of erbium and its lanthanide nature. A first set ofstudies concentrates on the scattering properties of ultracold erbium atoms. At the many-body level the group observed the d-wave collapse of the Bose-Einstein condensate. With the dipolar Fermi gas they also demonstrated the deformation of the Fermi surface into an ellipsoid induced by the action of the dipole-dipole interaction in momentum space.

About Albert Frisch

Albert Frisch was born in Kufstein, the Tyrol, in 1984. After graduating from high school in Wörgl he studied physics at the University of Innsbruck and worked as researcher in Francesca Ferlaino’s research group. He finished the PhD program in November 2014 presenting his thesis, for which he now receives the IQOQI Dissertation Prize. Since July 2015 Albert Frisch has been working on processor development at IBM in Germany.

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