Professor Michael Sentef, an expert in theoretical solid-state physics and a professor within the Faculty of Physics / Electrical Engineering at the University of Bremen, will receive funding of around two million euros through the ERC Consolidator Grant. The funding will benefit the CAVMAT research project, which he leads and which focuses on new ways of changing matter through light. "I am delighted to receive this award," says Sentef. "The ERC Consolidator Grant will allow me and my research group to advance theoretical and computer-aided fundamental research into completely new material structures."
The interaction of light with matter can influence the properties of quantum materials and thus make them more adaptable for advanced quantum technologies. The focus in CAVMAT is on cavity quantum materials. The tiny "cavities" can influence the material properties, just like special lighting changes the atmosphere in a room. Sentef's research focuses on efficient methods for laser-driven cavities, linking quantum-mechanical cavity concepts to materials driven by classical laser fields.
"The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics will be awarded to scientists who have paved the way for short laser flashes on the attosecond scale (one billionth of a billionth of a second)," explains Sentef. "In recent years, short pulses of light have made it possible to selectively put complex quantum materials into excited states and thus change their properties – and to do so in an ultra-fast fashion. However, this requires powerful lasers, and the new properties often only last for a short time. The aim of CAVMAT is to generate the same changes much more efficiently and at the same time extend their lifespan. In the long term, we want to harness the fascinating effects from the microscopic quantum world for new technologies."
The university is thus continuing its series of ERC successes this year and now boasts its sixth ERC grant. The President of the University of Bremen, Professor Jutta Günther, is delighted: "Dedicated researchers across the world apply to the ERC for one of the highest European awards for research excellence. It is a great honor that we have been successful in the ERC competition for the sixth time this year with Mr. Sentef from the field of physics. I am delighted that we have such highly motivated and committed researchers at the University of Bremen. This also enriches teaching and the recruitment of young talent for academia. I warmly congratulate Mr. Sentef." Professor Michal Kucera, Vice President for Research and Transfer at the University of Bremen adds: "With the awarding of the ERC Consolidator Grant to Professor Sentef, the University of Bremen has been successful in all ERC funding lines this year. We are proud that our university repeatedly succeeds in offering researchers at all career levels excellent conditions for their development."
The Path to Research on Quantum Materials
Professor Michael Sentef led a junior research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg from 2016 to 2022, which was funded by the German Research Foundation as part of the Emmy Noether Programme. For several months, he was an associate professor of theoretical quantum physics at the University of Bristol (UK) before moving to the University of Bremen in 2023. He completed his physics studies at the University of Augsburg, where he received his doctorate in 2010. After postdoctoral stays at Stanford University, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the University of Bonn, he became increasingly interested in materials interacting with strong laser fields and on ultrashort time scales.
About the ERC Consolidator Grant
The ERC Consolidator Grant is aimed at researchers who have already carried out excellent research. The funding usually amounts to up to two million euros and extends over a period of five years.
Prof. Dr. Michael Andreas Sentef
Faculty 01: Physics / Electrical Engineering
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-62039