Departement News

A highly light-absorbent and tunable material

By layering different two-dimensional materials, physicists at the University of Basel have created a novel structure with the ability to absorb almost all light of a selected wavelength. The achievement relies on a double layer of molybdenum disulfide. The new structure’s particular properties make it a candidate for applications in optical components or as a source of individual photons, which play a key role in quantum research. The results were published in the scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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Congratulation to Simon Suter for his successful final apprenticeship examination

We congratulate our apprentice Simon Suter to his successful apprenticeship as a poly mechanic. He graduated his final exam with a grade of 5.3/6.



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Adding noise for completely secure communication

How can we protect communications against “eavesdropping” if we don’t trust the devices used in the process? This is one of the main questions in quantum cryptography research. Researchers at the University of Basel and ETH Zurich have succeeded in laying the theoretical groundwork for a communication protocol that guarantees one hundred percent privacy.

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Operational Concept for the Department of Physics

We outline below a new operating concept effective on 10.06.2020, to follow ‘Emergency Operations’ instituted to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2. This concept approaches a ‘new normal’ for our Department and complies with the safety and hygiene standards set by the University to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (

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Easing of 'Emergency Operations' starting on 02.06.2020

We outline below a modified operating concept for the planned easing of ‘Emergency Operations’ on 02.06.2020. This concept allows a further increase of research activities, which require a physical presence in the Department of Physics, compared to the last ‘Emergency Operations’ concept initiated on 27.04.2020. We have also modified our designated maximum occupancy for all research spaces in the Department using your principles as guidelines: 4 m^2 per person of personal space and the possibility to maintain 2 m of separation. Our concept continues to ensure compliance with the safety and hygiene standards set by the University to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (

The Department’s rules are:

• The Department remains closed to the public and open only to those
with a key.

• Wherever possible, work should be done from home.

• All meetings and courses should be held via video conference.

• Anyone in at-risk categories should minimize time and contact with others in the Department.

• Each research space in the Department (lab, workshop, office, seminar room) has a designated maximum occupancy indicated by a sign on the entrance. This limit is not to be exceeded.

• A closed electronic sign-up system (via Google Calendar or the like) will ensure that the maximum number of individuals in a room is never exceeded. In case of an infection, the system will also allow for full traceability of who was where and when.

• In the Department, members should maintain a 2 m separation between themselves and others as much as possible. In any space where 2 m of separation cannot be maintained at all times, facemasks should be worn.

• Shared surfaces, equipment, and other shared objects should be disinfected before and after use.
• Elevators and bathrooms are to be used by only 1 person at a time.

• Public areas (break rooms, coffee kitchens, etc.) should be used as little as possible. When used, individuals must maintain 2 m of separation.

• Hands should be washed regularly, touching one’s face should be avoided. The general hygiene recommendations of the BAG should be followed:

• Anyone with a fever or cough should report to his/her supervisor, should be tested, and should not come to the department. Anyone who has a member of his/her family or inner circle who is infected or suspected of infection, should not come to the department.

• If someone tests positive for the coronavirus, his/her contacts should get tested (as identified via our closed electronic sign-up system), should not come to the department, and should go to quarantine.

• 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.

Compliance with the above rules will be ensured by once or twice daily walk-throughs of the Department by Head of Technology & Safety, Dr. Laurent Marot.

As always, please take these rules seriously.

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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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