500. Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Seminar

Highlights of Quantum Optics

Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, May 7 - 11, 2012

Scientific organizers: Ernst M. Rasel and Wolfgang P. Schleich

This seminar is generously funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation.

Program         Location          Contact

Scientific background

During the last two decades the field of quantum optics has undergone a dramatic change and has enormously broadened its scope. While in its early days it was focused mainly on cavity quantum electrodynamics, quantum effects of the radiation field such as squeezing or anti-bunching and laser cooling, today it covers numerous different areas. Indeed, now many interesting questions are located at the interfaces of quantum optics and other branches of physics. Research areas such as “cold atoms meet solid state physics”, “matter waves and gravitation” and “quantum information” reflect this interdisciplinary aspect of today’s quantum optics.


We have chosen two pictures for the website of our school expressing in a vivid way the breath and depth of this exciting field: (i) The collapse of a chromium Bose-Einstein condensate and the appearant d-wave symmetry observed in the group of T. Pfau (Stuttgart) which has even inspired artists such as Waltraud Simon to use cold atoms as a design of glass windows, and (ii) interference fringes in the high harmonic interferometry of multi-electron dynamics in a CO2 molecule made possible by attosecond laser pulses pioneered by Paul Corkum (Ottawa).


Due to the various facets of quantum optics it is difficult to obtain an overview over all activities in this field. There are an almost infinite amount of conferences and summer schools dedicated to individual themes of quantum optics. However, there is no meeting summarizing the whole spectrum. For this reason we devote the 500. Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Seminar to an introduction into the “Highlights of quantum optics”. In particular, we will cover the topics of


For each of these topics we have been able to attract lecturers whose pioneering work has formed these fields.

Structure of the seminar

We introduce timely topics of quantum optics by talks and a poster session which will be at the beginning of the meeting. The three best posters will receive a prize and will be invited to present their work in a short talk (15 minutes plus 5 minutes discussion) later in the week. There will be plenty of time to discuss and study special topics in smaller groups. Moreover, an excursion to a nearby mountain (with a stop in a restaurant) will enhance the interaction between the participants.