FAU physicist Peter Hommelhoff receives the Leibniz Prize

Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff
FAU physicist Peter Hommelhoff receives the Leibniz Prize (Image: Uwe Niklas)

‘German Nobel Prize’ to be awarded in Bonn on May 12

On Thursday May 12, 2022, the physicist Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff from FAU is to receive the most prestigious research prize in Germany, also known as the German Nobel Prize: the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. The prize is worth 2.5 million euros, significantly more than the Nobel Prize. The funding is available for laser physicist Hommelhoff to use for his research as he sees fit for a period of up to seven years and without any bureaucratic formalities.

“Winning this prize is a fantastic feeling. It is not only a great honor, it also means that I have considerable freedom to pursue my research as I see fit,” says Peter Hommelhoff, who has been head of the Chair of Laser Physics at FAU since 2012. “The Leibniz Prize is the pinnacle of my career to date, and also recognizes the work of all my colleagues here at the Chair.”

Hommelhoff continues, “The 2.5 million euros prize money is incredibly valuable for us, as it will allow us to do things we would otherwise be unable to do. Especially in the area of fundamental research, the fact that we cannot always predict what we will actually discover can make it hard to raise funding. Maybe we will use it for something entirely different.”

Professor Hommelhoff investigates interactions between light and matter. His research focuses on controlling and steering electrons using ultrashort laser pulses. Although the FAU physicist is involved in fundamental research into physics, Hommelhoff remains very conscious of potential practical applications for his discoveries. “One of our major projects involves a mini particle accelerator that we hope will lead to revolutionary sources of radiation that could in future be used to treat tumors in a highly targeted manner.”

Another area of  Hommelhoff’s research focuses on ultrafast light-field electronics that work at speeds reaching at least ten thousand times of today’s electronics and could significantly accelerate computation times of computers. Furthermore, Hommelhoff’s research is contributing to improving electron microscopes to make them capable of offering researchers even clearer insights into molecules.

The Leibniz Prizes are awarded in Bonn during a ceremony attended by selected guests. A livestream of the event will be broadcast on DFG’s digital channels.

Further information

Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff
Chair of Laser Physics
Phone: +49 9131 85 27090