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The EPS Edison Volta Prize 2020 is announced

Posted By Administration, Thursday 18 June 2020

The European Physical Society [EPS], the Fondazione Alessandro Volta, and Edison S.p.A. are delighted to announce the award of the 2020 EPS Edison Volta Prize to

  • Dieter Weiss
  • Jurgen Smet
  • Klaus Ensslin

"for their seminal contributions to condensed matter nano-science."

Dieter Weiss is recognized for discovering a most spectacular new quantum phenomenon, the “Weiss Oscillations”. Originally, he used standing light waves to generate a sub micrometer periodic electron density modulation in a 2-dimensional electron gas, which leads to new quantum oscillations if the circular motion of electrons in a magnetic field is commensurate with this modulation. Today modern electron beam lithography is able to bring these dimensions down to 10 nanometers, which allowed the realization of artificial crystals and new quantum devices. Dieter Weiss later extended the concept of “Weiss Oscillation” successfully to topological insulators and to 2-dimensional electron systems with magnetic modulation. His expertise in the realization of micro magnets opened the field of controlled spin injection in high mobility 2-dimensional systems so that his group belongs to the top teams in the field of semiconductor spintronics.

Jurgen Smet is recognized for the demonstration – in cooperation with Dieter Weiss - of the so.called Hofstadter butterfly and the correctness of the Composite Fermion concept, a new quasiparticle consisting of a combination of an electron and two flux quanta, as well as for the exploration of the special properties of composite fermions. Jurgen Smet is honoured especially for devising new tools based an ingenious combination of mK temperatures, microwaves, surface acoustic waves, optical excitations, and quantized magnetic fields, which allowed for his ground-breaking investigations on electron spin - nuclear spin interactions and correlations among electron charge and spin degrees of freedom, when these electrons are confined in two dimensions, in semiconductors or in graphene.

Whereas most of the research of Weiss and Smet focuses on 2-dimensional systems, Klaus Ensslin is specialized in the field of quantum dots. Klaus Ensslin receives the prize for his discoveries connected with nonequilibrium phenomena in quantum dots including the emission of microwave radiation from double quantum dots and the time resolved tunnelling dynamics in the occupation of biased quantum dots. The demonstration of strong coupling between a single spin or a single electron with a single photon in a resonator - the building block for long-distant correlation of semiconductor quantum bits and a crucial step towards quantum information processing - was a ground-breaking contribution of Ensslin’s group. Starting originally with quantum dots in GaAs, Ensslin is now a world-leading figure in the realization of single and double quantum dots in single and bilayer graphene.

EPS Edison-Volta Prize

The EPS Edison Volta Prize promotes excellence in research and is given in recognition of outstanding research and achievements in physics. The EPS Edison Volta Prize is given biennially to individuals or groups of up to three people. The laureates receive a medal, which is a faithful reproduction of the “Medaglia Premio dell’ Associazione per l’Incremento del Commercio in Como": a portrait of Alessandro Volta together with the saying: Alexandro Voltae Novocomensi, i.e. (dedicated) to Alessandro Volta from Novum Comum, which was the old name given to the city of Como by Julius Caesar.

The Prize was established in 2011 and was awarded for the first time in 2012 to R. D. Heuer, S. Bertolucci and S. Myers from CERN, Geneva. Other laureates of the prize include and in 2014 to J.-M. Raimond (2014) N. Mandolesi, J.-L. Puget, and J. Tauber (2015), M. J. Orrit (2016), and A. Brillet, K. Danzmann, A. Giazotto, J. Hough (2018)

Background Information

The European Physical Society provides an international forum for physicists and acts as a federation of 42 national physical societies. Founded in 1968, the EPS now has around 4000 individual members, and it Members Societies represent together over 130,000 physicists. More info:

The other partners and sponsors of the Prize are Edison S.p.A. ( and the Fondazione Alessandro Volta (

Tags:  award  Condensed Matter  EPS Edison Volta Prize  nano-science 

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