»On the way to future quantum computers, Wolfgang Wernsdorfer's research on nanomagnets is making a significant contribution to shaping one of the key technologies of the future«, Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT, emphasizes. Wernsdorfer is an expert in nanomagnetism, single molecule magnets, and their use in quantum computer systems. His research group focuses on molecular quantum spintronics, an area of experimental solid state physics at the interface between chemistry and materials science. The group develops fast and reliable methods to read spin states of single magnetic molecules for quantum information processing and creates the prerequisites for tomorrow's quantum technology.
The researchers found out how molecular magnets behave under the laws of quantum mechanics and succeeded in measuring quantum spin states in a molecule. One example where these findings are useful is in information processing. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, which - unlike classical computers - have values between zero and one. The entanglement of qubits results in mixed quantum states that allow many calculation steps to be performed in parallel. Thus, the research group makes an important contribution to the computer of the future.
Germany's Most Important Science Prize
Wolfgang Wernsdorfer receives the prize for his contribution to electronics, spin physics, and quantum computing. Since 1986, the DFG has awarded this prize to scientists annually. This year, it was awarded to ten prizewinners. The researchers can use the prize money of around 2.5 million euros for their work over a period of up to seven years at their own discretion. The Leibniz Prize is considered one of the most important science prizes worldwide and will be awarded in Berlin on 13 March 2019.
Wernsdorfer, born in 1966, has been Humboldt Professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) since 2016. At KIT, Wernsdorfer is currently setting up a center for molecular quantum spintronics. Before that, he was a research associate and later director at the Neel Institute of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Grenoble, France. After training as an electrician and attending vocational secondary school, he began studying physics at the University of Würzburg and graduated from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyon.