In publica commoda

Press release: Quantum-mechanical systems far from equilibrium

No. 48 - 27.03.2023

DFG funds new research unit in physics at the University of Göttingen


The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund a new Research Unit studying the non-equilibrium physics of quantum many-body systems at the University of Göttingen. The title of this ambitious programme is “Quantum thermalization, localization, and constrained dynamics with interacting ultracold atoms”.  A team of scientists will investigate how macroscopic thermodynamic behaviour emerges from the microscopic equations of motion of quantum mechanics.


The Research Unit will be coordinated at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Göttingen. This collaboration includes scientists from the University of Augsburg, Munich, Tübingen, the Technical University of Munich, the Max-Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, and the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching. The Research Unit will receive about 3.5 million Euros in funds initially for four years.


“Statistical Physics and Quantum Mechanics provide the essential framework for the description of quantum many-body systems, as they are realized in condensed matter or metamaterials. Remarkably, the emergence of a macroscopic description according to the laws of thermodynamics from the underlying microscopic laws such as the Schrödinger equation is not fully understood yet,“ explains the Research Unit's spokesperson, Professor Fabian Heidrich-Meisner from the University of Göttingen. “We are excited that we will work on these fundamental and fascinating questions in a team of experimentalists and theoretical physicists from the fields of quantum optics, condensed matter theory and statistical physics.“


“Our central approach relies on quantum simulation with ultracold atomic gases, allowing for time-resolved experiments with great control over the microscopic parameters, interactions, dimensionality, disorder potentials in combination with single-atom control and measurement capabilities,“ says Heidrich-Meisner. “We hope to gain an improved understanding of non-equilibrium physics from the interplay of these state-of-the-art experiments with theoretical research, covering the whole spectrum of thermalizing systems, localization and metastable dynamics. The new insights will, in the long run, lead to a better control of and design of quantum technologies.“



Professor Fabian Heidrich-Meisner

Institute for Theoretical Physics

Tel: +49 (0551) 39-27376