Tilman Esslinger

Visiting professor


Electrical Engineer

Lattice Team

Cavity Team

Lithium Team

Impact Team

Prof. Dr. Tilman Esslinger

ETH Zurich
Institute for Quantum Electronics
Quantum Optics Group
Otto-Stern-Weg-1, HPF D4
8093 Zurich

Tel.: +41 44 63-32340
Fax: +41 44 63-31254

Email: esslinger(at)phys.ethz(dot)ch

Research interests

  • Quantum gases and optical lattices
  • Quantum many-body physics
  • Cavity QED
  • Quantum simulation

Short CV

  • Since October 2001: Full professor in the Department of Physics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

    • Research area: Quantum gases, quantum simulation, quantum optics
    • Major scientific accomplishments: first experimental realization of a Fermi-Hubbard model and the Mott insulator using a fermionic quantum gas trapped in an optical lattice, measurement of the critical exponent of the correlation length in a Bose gas, first realization of a one-dimensional atomic quantum gas, cavity QED and cavity opto-mechanics with Bose- Einstein condensates, observation of the Dicke quantum phase transition, optical lattices with Dirac points, realization of the topological Haldane model, observation of quantized conductance in a Fermi gas.

  • 1995-2001: Group leader in T.W. Hänsch's laboratory at the University of Munich

    • Field of research: Bose-Einstein condensation, optical lattices
    • Major scientific accomplishments: demonstration of the quantum phase transition between a superfluid and a Mott-insulating state, measurement of the long-range order in a Bose-Einstein condensate, pioneering work on atom lasers

  • 1991-1995: Research assistant, Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching

    • Field of research: Laser cooling of neutral atoms
    • Major scientific accomplishments: first demonstration of subrecoil laser cooling of rubidium atoms, pioneering work on laser cooling and atom optics in near-resonant optical lattices, demonstration of a mirror for neutral atoms exploiting a surface plasmon resonance

Other Professional Activities

  • Since 2013: Chair of Department of Physics at ETH Zurich
  • 2009-2013: Vice-chair of Department of Physics at ETH Zurich
  • Since 2008: heading search committees as a delegate of the President of ETH Zurich
  • 2004 - 2008: Member of the strategic planning commission of ETH Zurich
  • 2005 - 2007: Head of Institute of Quantum Electronics, ETH Zurich

Prizes, Honours, Patents

  • Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (2014)
  • listed as "World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014 in Physics" by Thomson Reuters
  • ERC advanced grant, 2010
  • Phillip Morris Research Prize (shared with T.W. Hänsch and I. Bloch), 2000
  • Guest professorship at University of Innsbruck, 2001
  • US patent on "Device and method for generating and manipulating coherent matter waves"
  • Prizes for PhD students in my group:

    • Henning Moritz: Prize for General Physics of the Swiss Physical Society 2005
    • Thilo Stöferle: ETH medal and Chorafas Prize 2006
    • Ferdinand Brennecke: ETH medal
    • Gregor Jotzu: 2015 prize in general physics
    • Sebastian Krinner: ETH medal and Chorafas prize 2015

Organization of Conferences

  • 2011: Chair for the 5th biannual conference on Bose-Einstein Condensation, Sant Feliu
  • 2009: Co-organizer, workshop on "Ab-initio modeling of cold gases", Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2009: Co-organizer, workshop on "Quantum Engineering", Monte Verita, Switzerland
  • 2009: Vice-Chair "Bose-Einstein Condensation 2009", Sant Feliu, Spain (chair: Peter Zoller)
  • 2005: Workshop chair "Control and Manipulation of Quantum Systems", Monte Verita, CH
  • 2002: Chair of the European Research Conference on Quantum Optics
  • 2001: Vice-Chair of the European Research Conference on Quantum Optics
  • 1999: Symposium "Laser cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation", DPG-meeting, Heidelberg