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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2017/18 Dr. Stefan Buhmann

Dr. Stefan Buhmann

University of Freiburg
Junior Fellow
DFG Emmy Noether Fellow
November 2014 - September 2018

Phone +49 (0)761 203 5946
Fax +49 (0)761 203 5967


2002 - 2007 Physics (PhD), Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
2001 Physics (Honours), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
1998 - 2000 Physics (Diplom), University of Cologne, Germany
Mathematics (Diplom), University of Cologne, Germany

since 2014 Junior Research Group Leader, Institute of Physics, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany
2007 - 2013 Research Associate, Quantum Optics and Laser Science, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
2005 - 2007 Scientific staff, Institute of Theoretical Physics, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
2002 - 2003 Tutor, School of Mathematics and Computer Science, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
2001 Tutor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
2000 - 2001 Tutor, Mathematical Institute, University of Cologne, Germany

Fellowships and Awards
2013 Emmy Noether Fellowship, German Research Foundation
2013 Routledge Education Prize, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
2007 - 2009 Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
2004 - 2005 PhD scholarship by the E. W. Kuhlmann-Foundation  
2002 - 2004 PhD scholarship by the Thuringian Ministry of Science  
2002 The Head of School's Prize in Physics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
2001 Scholarship of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)

Professional Development
2011 - 2014 Master’s in Education (MEd) in University Learning and Teaching, Imperial College London, United Kingdom


Selected Publications

  • Dispersion Forces II: Many-Body Effects, Excited Atoms, Finite Temperature and Quantum Friction, S. Y. Buhmann (Springer, Berlin, 2012)
  • Dispersion forces in macroscopic quantum electrodynamics, S. Y. Buhmann and D.-G. Welsch, Prog. Quantum Electron. 31 (2), 51 (2007)
  • Probing Atom-Surface Interactions by Diffraction of Bose-Einstein Condensates, H. Bender, C. Stehle, C. Zimmermann, S. Slama, J. Fiedler, S. Scheel, S. Y. Buhmann and V. N. Marachevsky, Phys. Rev. X 4, 011029 (2014)
  • Thermal Casimir–Polder forces: Equilibrium and nonequilibrium forces, S. Y. Buhmann and S. Scheel, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 (25), 253201 (2008)
  • Casimir–Polder forces: A nonperturbative approach, S. Y. Buhmann, D. T. Ho, L. Knöll and D.-G. Welsch, Phys. Rev. A 70 (5), 052117 (2004)


FRIAS Research Project

Macroscopic Quantum Electrodynamics and its Consequences

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle implies that the electric field exhibits fluctuations even in its vacuum state. These fluctuations, also known as virtual photons, couple to any charged or polarisable system, leading to a number of surprising effects: the Lamb shift, spontaneous decay and the Purcell effect, resonant energy transfer, dispersion interactions of Casimir, Casimir-Polder and van der Waals type and contact-less quantum friction. This project investigates how these unavoidable consequences of quantum electrodynamics can be manipulated: Can unusual media such as Chern-Simons materials or topological insulators be used to detect CP violation or discriminate chiral enantiomers? Can the fundamental van der Waals potential between two atoms acquire a spatially oscillating profile for excited atoms? How can this potential be changed by means of background media? Can carefully tuned resonances help enhance quantum friction to facilitate its first experimental observation? How will environments modify or facilitate resonant energy transfer and interatomic Coulomb decay?