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2020 Europhysics Prize
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2020 Europhysics Prize Winner

The 2020 EPS Condensed Matter Division Europhysics Prize is awarded to Jörg Wrachtrup for his pioneering studies on quantum coherence in solid-state systems, and their applications for sensing, and, in particular, for major breakthroughs in the study of the optical and spin properties of nitrogen vacancy centres in diamond.

The Prize will be presented on Wednesday September 2nd, 2020, during the Awards Session of the 28th General Conference of the EPS Condensed Matter Division – CMD 2020 GEFES[1], to be held online from September 1st to 4th, 2020 together with the Meeting of the Condensed Matter Group GEFES of the Spanish Royal Physics Society RSEF.

The research of Jörg Wrachtrup has established an entirely new and highly successful area of research at the interface between solid-state physics and quantum optics with unexpected impact in quantum sensing, ranging from material science to biomedical research, based on his pioneering work on the optical detection of single spins in solids. By adapting techniques from spin resonance, Jörg Wrachtrup manifested precision control of single electron and nuclear spins in solids already in the early 1990’s. These methods later became the foundation of solid-state quantum control. A major advance occurred with the identification by Jörg Wrachtrup and his team of individual paramagnetic nitrogen vacancies in diamond, called NV centres, as a promising platform for quantum nanoscience. Landmark contributions to the field made by Jörg Wrachtrup were, e.g., the demonstration of entanglement between nano-positioned defects and electronic and nuclear spins, the first non-destructive quantum measurements on solid state spins, or the error correction based on nuclear spin clusters.

The work by Jörg Wrachtrup and his team has spurred considerable development of ultrapure diamond as a material and of diamond nano-structuring technology, as well as solid-state nanotechnology as a whole. Wrachtrup’s research has prompted the systematic investigation of various solid state spin systems, which has resulted in the discovery of quantum defect spins in materials like SiC, GaN or two-dimensional materials such as graphene, boron nitride or MoS2. Jörg Wrachtrup was the first to recognise the importance of NV centres for quantum information technology, metrology and biomedical imaging. Thanks to his contributions, the field has grown into a worldwide research area with regular dedicated conferences and symposia on all major meetings.

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Jörg Wrachtrup (born 27 December 1961), one of the pioneers in solid-state quantum physics, received his Phd from the Free university of Berlin in 1994, time at which he already conducted the first electron spin resonance experiments on single electron spins in matter. Jörg Wrachtrup took on a position as researcher and lecturer at the Chemnitz University of Technology, where he headed the research team, for the first time, detected the optical as well as spin signal of a single dopant atom in a solid: the nitrogen-vacancy center (N-V) in diamond.

Since 2000, Jörg Wrachtrup is professor of physics and director of the 3rd Physical Institute at the University of Stuttgart. He was appointed Max Planck Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Solid State Research in Stuttgart in 2010, and member of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Science in 2018. Jörg Wrachtrup is currently the Director of the Center for Applied Quantum Technologies.

Jörg Wrachtrup previously received a number of other prestigious awards for his work. These include the Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation, the Max Planck award of the Humbold Foundation and the Max Planck Society, the Zeiss Research Award, the Gold Medal of the International Society for Electron Spin Resonance, and the Heinrich Hertz Award of the German Physical Society.


Jörg Wrachtrup has published more than 290 papers that are cited close to 5000 times per year. Since 2014 he is continuously enrolled in the ISI Highly Cited Researcher list.


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