Departement News

How to control friction in topological insulators

Topological insulators are innovative materials that conduct electricity on the surface, but act as insulators on the inside. Physicists at the University of Basel and the Istanbul Technical University have begun investigating how they react to friction. Their experiment shows that the heat generated through friction is significantly lower than in conventional materials. This is due to a new quantum mechanism, the researchers report in the scientific journal Nature Materials.

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Machine learning at the quantum lab

The electron spin of individual electrons in quantum dots could serve as the smallest information unit of a quantum computer. Scientists from the Universities of Oxford, Basel and Lancaster have developed an algorithm that can be used to measure quantum dots automatically. Writing in the Nature-family journal npj Quantum Information, they describe how they can speed up this hugely time-consuming process by a factor of four with the help of machine learning. Their approach to the automatic measurement and control of qubits therefore represents a key step toward their large-scale application.

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Christoph Bruder has just been elected "Fellow of the American Physical Society"!

Christoph Bruder has been awarded this honor for his work on quantum theory of many-body coherent phenomena in

mesoscopic electron systems, cold atoms, and nanomechanical systems by the Division of Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP).

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Begrüssung der Erstsemestrigen zum Physikstudium

Am nächsten Montag 16. September 2019 heissen wir die neuen Physikstudierenden um 13:15 Uhr im neuen Hörsaal 1 der Physik, Eingang St. Johanns-Ring 25, willkommen. Zum gegenseitigen Kennenlernen gibt es im Anschluss um 15 Uhr einen Apéro in der SVI Mensa im 3ten Stock des Departements Physik. Wir wünschen viel Erfolg!

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Silicon as a semiconductor: silicon carbide would be much more efficient

In power electronics, semiconductors are based on the element silicon – but the energy efficiency of silicon carbide would be much higher. Physicists of the University of Basel, the Paul Scherrer Institute and ABB explain what exactly is preventing the use of this combination of silicon and carbon in the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters.

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Congratulations to Noah Simon Graber

We congratulate our apprentice Noah Simon Graber for having successfully passed his final exams of his Polymechanics apprenticeship.

Out of overall 31 Polymechanics apprentices in the Basel area, his ranking was among the top 6 with an excellent mark of 5.3.


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1st Women in Physics networking hike

On Wednesday, June 10th 2019, a group of female physicists from various different research groups of the Department of Physics at the University of Basel set out on a journey to Beckenried, NW, at the shore of Lake Lucerne, to go on their first Women in Physics networking hike. The goal of this event, which is also a part of the NCCR QSIT equal opportunities program, is to get to know each other, talk about both physics-related and -unrelated topics in a relaxed environment, and build up a sense of community among the female members of the department. After taking the cable car to Klewenalp, which offered amazing views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains, our path led us uphill to the SAC hut Brisenhaus, and from there in a big loop through meadows and forests back to Klewenalp. There, everyone was happy to get their well-deserved coffee and enjoy the sun until the cable car took us back down and we started our way home back to Basel.

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Crystal phase engineering: the “art” of creating materials with tailor made properties by playing with their crystal structure

Nowadays materials science faces an even more ambitious task: creating materials by design, that is engineering materials with tailor made properties, typically because they can be useful for some specific applications. A way to achieve this goal is creating superlattices, periodic structures made of an ordered sequence of building blocks of different materials, whose properties that can be tuned by controlling the stacking of the building blocks.

In the framework of a collaborative research project led by Ilaria Zardo, from the University of Basel (Switzerland), counting with the collaboration of the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) (Spain), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) (Spain) and the Technical University of Eindhoven (The Netherlands), the tuning of the vibrational properties of a crystal phase superlattice has been demonstrated for the first time. This superlattice is different from the conventional ones, since its basic LEGO® bricks used as building blocks, rather than made of different materials, are made of different crystal phases of the same material. This finding has been published in the journal Nano Letters and highlighted by the editor in the journal cover .


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Hoverboard gewinnt Bundespreis bei «Jugend forscht» - ein Grund zu feiern!

In dem Science-Fiction-Klassiker „Zurück in die Zukunft II“ flitzt Filmschauspieler Michael J. Fox auf einem Skateboard durch die Straßen, das keine Rollen besitzt, sondern wie ein Hovercraft über dem Boden schwebt. Genau an dieser technologischen Vision tüftelten auch Felix Sewing und Alex Korocencev. Ihr Gefährt basiert auf vier rotierenden Scheiben, die auf einer darunterliegenden Metallplatte ein kräftiges, abstoßendes Magnetfeld hervorrufen können. Die Tragkraft des Boards ist durchaus beeindruckend, der Prototyp kann ein beträchtliches Gewicht stemmen. Zudem ist es möglich, die Rotorscheiben einzeln zu kippen, wodurch sich das Brett gezielt lenken lässt. Mittlerweile funktioniert die Technik so gut, dass die beiden Jungforscher für die darin verwendete Magnetanordnung ein Patent beantragt haben.

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QUSTEC call for PhD students

Quantum Science and Technologies QUSTEC on EUCOR -- The European Campus (Uni Basel, Uni Freiburg, Uni Strasbourg, Karlsruhe KIT, and IBM Zurich)

Call open for 39 doctoral fellowships at!

Apply now, call closes Aug 19, 2019.


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