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Research group | Theoretical Physics - Macroscopic Quantum Objects

Quantum state of a harmonic oscillator in a non-classical superposition state in a Wigner function representation (left). By way of comparison, a representation of a classical mixture (right). Image: Klemens Hammerer

Quantum theory makes some rather peculiar predictions about the states and processes, which may occur in physical systems. These curious predictions have proven true in a large number of tests with microphysical systems, such as single atoms or single particles of light (photons). 

The research activities in the group “Theoretical Physics—Macroscopic Quantum Objects” centers around the question:

How large—in the widest sense—a physical system can be without losing its quantum physical properties. 

At the intersection between Theoretical Quantum Optics, Quantum Information Theory and nano- and microstructured solid-state systems, we aim to devise means to test quantum theory in the macroscopic range. Besides this fundamental problem we also investigate possible applications of quantum physics in quantum information and communication technologies, and metrology. 

In close collaboration with leading experimental groups we are investigating a broad spectrum of quantum systems, ranging from single photons and atoms in cavities, by way of atomic ensembles and nano- and micromechanical oscillators, through to macroscopic test masses in gravitational wave detectors. This work is focussed on quantum coherent effects in light matter interactions and their use for the preparation, control and verification of the quantum states of macroscopic objects.