Pascal Weckesser receives SAMOP Dissertation Prize of the German Physical Society

In his thesis he discovered tunable Feshbach resonances between atoms and ions for the first time.

March 17, 2023

The section AMOP (Atoms, Molecules, Quantum Optics and Photonics), in short SAMOP, of the German Physical Society (DPG) has awarded this year’s Dissertation Prize to Pascal Weckesser, Postdoctoral researcher in the Quantum Many Body Systems group of Immanuel Bloch at MPQ. The award honours outstanding scientific achievements and their excellent exposition in a lecture and was presented at this year’s spring conference of the DPG in March 2023.

On the occasion of the annual spring meeting of the German Physical Society, the AMOP section invites four young scientists from all over Germany that achieved excellent results in the course of their PhD. In a prize symposium, the four speakers present their work in front of a large audience and afterwards a committee chooses the best thesis. On March 7 during the SAMOP spring meeting in Hannover, the German Physical Society announced that Pascal Weckesser, a postdoctoral researcher in the Quantum Many-Body Division of Immanuel Bloch, has won the prestigious prize. The award comes with a travel grant and 1500 Euro.

Pascal Weckesser began his physics studies in 2009 at Heidelberg University. After his Bachelors he completed a Fulbright year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (USA) and then continued his Master in the group of Matthias Weidemüller (Heidelberg) until 2015. For his doctoral thesis, he joined the group of Tobias Schätz at Freiburg University. In his thesis “Feshbach resonances between a single ion and ultracold atoms”, he investigated the interplay between laser cooled atoms and ions.

As central result, he cooled the ensemble to the quantum regime and discovered tunable Feshbach resonances between atoms and ions for the first time. He further advanced the technique of optical ion trapping, offering a versatile alternative to conventional linear Paul traps.

“It was an honor to present the results of my thesis in front of such a large audience. Working on a new quantum system – mixed atoms and ions – was truly exciting. I am very thankful for my team in Freiburg, who made these results possible.”, adds Pascal. His findings enable a new class of quantum simulators, that allow studying electron-phonon coupling in condensed matter systems and enable precision measurements of charged molecules for quantum metrology.

In July 2021, Pascal Weckesser joined the division of Professor Immanuel Bloch and started working at the Rb Quantum Gas Microscope. Together with Dr. Johannes Zeiher and his colleagues, he investigates cooperative interactions within subwavelength atomic arrays and off-resonant Rydberg dressing in programmable Bose Hubbard systems.

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