Departement News

Lossless conduction at the edges

Atomically thin layers of the semimetal tungsten ditelluride conduct electricity losslessly along narrow, one-dimensional channels at the crystal edges. The material is therefore a second-order topological insulator. By obtaining experimental proof of this behavior, physicists from the University of Basel have expanded the pool of candidate materials for topological superconductivity. The findings have been published in the journal Nano Letters.

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Focused ion beam opens the door to highly sensitive probes – New EU project approved

Argovia Professor Martino Poggio of the University of Basel’s Department of Physics is to lead a recently approved project under the European Horizon 2020 program. Working with researchers from IBM Research – Zurich, the University of Tübingen and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Zaragoza, Poggio’s team aims to develop a new production method for exceptionally sensitive and precise probes for scanning probe microscopy that can also be used to examine superconducting materials. In the project, which is funded by FET Open – a scheme supporting European cooperations developing radically innovative technologies – the researchers will use focused ion beam (FIB) technology to fashion the sensors.

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Laser loop couples quantum systems over a distance

For the first time, researchers have succeeded in creating strong coupling between quantum systems over a greater distance. They accomplished this with a novel method in which a laser loop connects the systems, enabling nearly lossless exchange of information and strong interaction between them. In the scientific journal Science, the physicists from the University of Basel and University of Hanover reported that the new method opens up new possibilities in quantum networks and quantum sensor technology.

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Easing of Emergency Operation Rules

We outline below a modified operating concept for the planned easing of ‘Emergency Operations’ on 27.04.2020. This concept allows an increase of research activities, which require a physical presence in the Department of Physics, compared to the original ‘Emergency Operations’ concept initiated on 22.03.2020. Nevertheless, it continues to ensure compliance with the safety and hygiene standards set by the University to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (

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Rules for Emergency Operation

Dear members of the Physics Department,

As you know, since Monday, the University of Basel has switched its research to emergency operation (see email from of 22.03.2020, 21:28) due to the public health emergency. Each department has been asked to reduce all research activities that require a physical presence at the university to a minimum and to develop a framework for the continuation of necessary research operations.

Our guiding principle is that – whenever possible – both lab and office work will be carried out remotely. Access to labs will be allowed only for research requiring the physical presence of researchers. Likewise, access to offices will be allowed only if absolutely necessary. In most cases, access to offices should be rare and short in duration, e.g. to trouble-shoot a computer system, pick up a text book, or sign invoices.
Until further notice, we will operate under the following rules:

1) Researchers will only be allowed to work in the Department in designated rooms. These rooms are identified in the attached table. Each room will be accessible only to a restricted number of users, i.e. the research or work group indicated in the table. Furthermore, each room has a maximum number of simultaneous users, shown in the table, to ensure that – at any given time – each user has a minimum personal space of 30 m^2 for him or herself. A closed electronic sign-up system (based on Google Calendar) will ensure that the maximum number of users in a room is never exceeded at one time (your PI will coordinate this, the clean-room area is a special case using its own system). During work, all researchers are to observe social distancing and hygiene regulations set out by BAG (2-m separation, hand-washing, etc.).

2) In the event that a user presents corona virus symptoms or tests positive for the virus, his or her access to the department will immediately be interrupted. All users with access to the same rooms will be notified and sent home for self-quarantine.

3) Cleaning/disinfecting material and latex gloves will be placed in each designated room, to which more than 1 user has access. Cleaning of common surfaces is to be done by each user before and after use.

4) Access to multiple-user bathrooms will be limited to 1 user at a time, using a two-sided occupied/unoccupied sign on the door.

5) Access to all common rooms, coffee kitchens, will be prohibited. Access to lifts will also be prohibited, with the exception of their unmanned use for the movement of large packages, equipment, and cryogenic liquids. These prohibitions will be clearly communicated with signs.

6) All planned meetings between Department members will be done electronically (even between 2 people).

7) Anyone in at-risk categories will not be allowed in the Department.

8) Those with access to the Department should behave in such a way as to protect themselves and their colleagues both inside and outside the Department.  They should follow the recommendations given by the BAG (, including being in public only when necessary, washing hands frequently, and keeping their distance from others.

9) The supply of cryogenic liquids (liquid nitrogen and liquid helium) for essential experiments will be ensured by a rotating member of the machine-shop staff.
 Compliance with these rules will be ensured by once or twice daily walk-throughs of the Department. The Department is locked and should only be entered by personnel who have a key.
*In case any of the above rules are infringed, all research activities in the department will be immediately and indefinitely stopped.*

Please, take these rules seriously.  Let me repeat: infringement of these rules will result in a complete and indefinite stop to all research in the department.

Martino Poggio, Department Chair

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Nachruf für Prof. Dr. Hermann Rudin

Prof. Dr. Hermann Rudin, (5. April 1931 – 27. Februar 2020)

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Departement closed due to Coronavirus

Dear members of the Physics Department,


Starting Tuesday 16.03.2020, the Department of Physics will be *closed*

to unauthorized people until further notice. All of you who have a key,

will still be able to enter, but you are only to do so, if given

permission by your direct superior (PI, head of workshop, head of

administration, etc.). Most of you should already have received

instructions from your superior in the last day or so and, if not,

please clarify with him/her.


We are taking these measures, because with a minimal number of people in

the department, we do not want create the opportunity for theft or for

unauthorized people to enter.



Martino Poggio, Department Chair

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Watch the Saturday Morning Physics 2020 Video here!

Neben spannenden Vorträgen über «Gravitationswellen aus dem frühen Universum » sowie über «Wie passt der Energieerhaltungssatz in der Physik zum Energieverbrauch im Alltag?» wurde auch an der diesjährigen Ausgabe ein Experimente-Park organisiert.

Eine Zusammenfassung der beiden Tage können Sie hier im Video geniessen.

Ein herzliches Dankeschön an die zahlreichen Besucher, die beiden Referenten, das Gymnasium Kirschgarten und das Phaenovum Lörrach sowie den vielen Physik Helfern.


Das Departement Physik

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The Department of Physics of the University of Basel invites you to the "International Day of Women and Girls in Science" on Tuesday 11/2/2020 .

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