Theodor W. Haensch

Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics


Election Year: 2001
Primary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type: International Member

Research Interests

As a laser scientist I am exploring nonlinear interactions between coherent light and matter. My early work in laser spectroscopy includes the invention of the first practical narrowband tunable dye laser, the development of now commonly used techniques for Doppler-free laser spectroscopy, and the first proposal for laser cooling of atomic gases. My focus has long been precision spectroscopy of the simple hydrogen atom that permits unique confrontations between experiment and fundamental theory. This work has yielded accurate values of the Rydberg constant, the Lamb shift of the hydrogen ground state, and the charge radii of proton and deuteron. After recent dramatic advances these experiments appear now poised to reveal possible slow changes of fundamental constants or even differences between matter and antimatter. More recently, my coworkers and I have been exploring atomic lattices bound by light. We are creating and manipulating coherent matter waves with microfabricated "atom chips" and we have pioneered a revolutionary simple technique for measuring the frequency of light with ultrashort pulses.

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