MPIK twice among the finalists for “Breakthrough of the Year 2021“

Both the work on coherent control of nuclear excitations with suitably shaped X-ray light and the new method for sympathetic laser cooling of protons via a superconducting resonant circuit convinced the Physics World jury. This is a great success for our institute.

A team of Physics World editors have sifted through research updates published on the website this year according to the following criteria: significant advance in knowledge or understanding, importance of work for scientific progress and/or development of real-world applications, and of general interest to Physics World readers.

Under the leadership of Jörg Evers' group from the Keitel division, the first experimental proof of coherent control of nuclear excitations by X-rays succeeded. A stability of the coherent control of a few zeptoseconds (thousandths of an attosecond) was achieved. In the experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF, the researchers, including Christian Ott's group from the Pfeifer division, used two samples enriched with the iron isotope 57Fe, which were irradiated with short X-ray pulses from the synchrotron. With the first sample, they generated a controllable double X-ray pulse, which was then used to control the dynamics of the nuclei in the second sample.

In the framework of the BASE collaboration at CERN, Matthew Bohman in his PhD work in Klaus Blaum's division has successfully implemented a new method for cooling protons using laser-cooled ions – here beryllium ions. The special feature: In the new setup, the two types of particles are in spatially separated traps. An electric resonant circuit transfers the cooling power over a distance of several centimetres from one trap to the other. In this way, the proton in one of the traps can be cooled significantly more than without beryllium in the neighbouring trap. The method also works with antimatter, and the large distance also enables interference-free and precise measurements, e.g. in the search for dark matter with the help of antimatter.

Physics World announces its finalists for the 2021 Breakthrough of the Year


apl. Prof. Dr. Jörg Evers
Phone: +49 6221 516-177

Dr. Christian Ott
Phone: +49 6221 516-577

Prof. Dr. Thomas Pfeifer
Phone: +49 6221 516-380

Honorarprof. Dr. Christoph H. Keitel
Phone: +49 6221 516-150

Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum
Phone: +49 6221 516-859