Pertsch, Thomas

Prof. Dr. Thomas Pertsch

 The Nano & Quantum Optics group at the Institute of Applied Physics examines fundamental effects of nanostructured materials in close collaboration between scientists in theory, technology, and experimental characterization. In nanooptics, the vectorial nature of the electro-magnetic field as well as scattering and reflection into almost every spatial direction rules the optical response of these structures. Particularly, in our group we are able to cover the whole process chain of design, modeling, fabrication, characterization and functional evaluation of nano-optical structures with the aim of realizing and using optical quantum systems with added functionality.

Beside our strong commitment to explore the fascinating field of nano and quantum optics, further main research directions of the group address a broad field of photonics-related topics. On the one hand, we study fundamental science phenomena such as linear and nonlinear properties of optical microresonators, photonic crystals, and spatio-temporal dynamics in discrete optical systems. On the other hand, we are strongly engaged in application-oriented research fields, where we investigate, e.g., innovative approaches in near-field microscopy, nonlinear imaging and spectroscopic techniques for biological specimen, photon management in solar cells and integrated optical solutions for astronomical instrumentation. 

Research Areas

Prof. Pertsch's research targets the control of light at the nanoscale using artificial nanostructured materials and ultrafast nonlinear optical effects. Research interests span from fundamental science to several application fields and include:

  • ultrafast light matter interactions and optical quantum phenomena in nanostructured matter as e.g. photonic nanomaterials, metamaterials, photonic crystals, and 2D materials (TMDCs)
  • nonlinear spatio-temporal dynamics, plasmonics, near field optics, high-Q nonlinear optical microresonators
  • opto-optical processes in integrated optics, and all-optical signal processing 
  • integrated quantum optics, quantum imaging, and quantum sensing
  • multi-tip scanning nearfield optical microscopy (SNOM), photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM)
  • application of photonic nanomaterials for multi-functional diffractive optical elements
  • application of optical nanostructures for efficiency enhancement of photovoltaic elements 
  • application of advanced photonic concepts for astronomical instruments

Teaching fields

Prof. Pertsch's teaching is devoted to the early involvement of young scientists in state-of-the-art research. He gives courses in:

  • fundamentals of modern optics
  • computational physics and photonics
  • introductory and theoretical nanooptics

Research methods

The laboratories run by Prof. Pertsch offer a wide range of methods for the experimental characterization and numerical modelling of photonic nanostructures. This includes:

  • multi-tip scanning nearfield optical microscopy (SNOM)
  • high-resolution, phase-resolved micro-spectroscopy in the UV-VIS-IR
  • time-resolved single photon microscopy
  • ultrafast time-resolved photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM)
  • characterization of ultrafast nonlinear spatio-temporal dynamics up to the few-cycle regime
  • high-performance computing for rigorous numerical modelling of photonic nanostructures

>> link to the Nano & Quantum Optics Group at the Institute of Applied Physics