Doctoral Research in Physics
VDSP students are the basis of a vibrant community that unites 50 strong research teams in the Faculty of Physics. Our research is driven by the excellence of individuals, which inspire each other.
VDSP students are the driving force behind all research and the essential links between all our research groups. VDSP students have access to the full breath of our physics education and can focus on their own research in many specialized courses, too.
VDSP students are united in the common goal to understand the foundations of physics from high energy, gravitational and mathematical physics to the roots of quantum science. They explore advanced materials and the application of physics to solve challenges of modern society, related to environmental monitoring, energy storage, imaging and measurement tools for materials research or the life sciences or in future of communication and computation technologies.
The following links to the research groups highlight our fields of expertise. The thematic subgroups are connected through joint teaching and meeting programmes, which are described here.

Abert Claas  Magnetic Simulation
Magnetic Simulation
Member of the research group Physics of Functional Materials
Since the rise of high performance computing, numerical simulations are an integral part of material science. For magnetic materials the micromagnetic model has proven to be an excellent tool for the description of static properties of well as the dynamics of the magnetization on the nanoscale. The micromagnetic model is a semiclassical continuum model that accounts for classical fields as well as quantumechanical contributions like exchange coupling and that is able to resolve the inner structure of domain walls. The model is defined in terms of partial differential equations whose analytical solution is only possible for simple edge cases.

Arndt Markus  Quantum Nanophysics and Molecular Quantum Optics
Quantum Nanophysics & Molecular Quantum Optics
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
We are developing universal matterwave interferometers for quantum experiments with complex and biologically relevant molecules, cluster and nanoparticles. We probe the foundations of quantum physics and are pushing the experimental frontiers to decoherence and the classical world. We build new quantum tools to serve chemistry and molecular analytics and explore a vast range of new particle preparation and cooling techniques across all complexity scales from molecules to dielectric nanoparticles.

Aspelmeyer Markus  Exploring the Boundaries of Quantum Physics and Gravity in Experiments
Exploring the Boundaries of Quantum Physics and Gravity in Experiments
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
"How does a quantum object gravitate?”, “How far can we push massive objects into the quantum regime?”, “How well can we measure gravity of microscopic systems?”. Such questions and their implications for the foundations of physics are the driving force behind our research. To address them we are developing quantum measurement and control techniques to investigate and utilize quantum states of motion of massive solid state objects. We are also developing inertial precision sensing techniques to measure the gravitational field of the smallest possible source masses. Our research aims to provide new insights on macroscopic quantum physics, on gravity at small scales and, in the long run, on the phenomenology of the gravityquantum interface in tabletop experiments.

Ayala Paola  Taylored Hybrid Structures
Taylored Hybrid Structures
Member of the research group Electronic Properties of Materials
The group Tailored Hybrid Structures (THS) works on the production and spectroscopy of filled and substitutionally doped carbon nanotubes.

Brukner Caslav  Quantum foundations and quantum information theory
Quantum foundations & quantum information theory
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
The goal of our team is to gain insight into quantum foundations and quantum information by exploiting operational and informationtheoretic approaches. The team has recently applied them to the field of causality and gravity.

Carqueville Nils  Mathematical Physics
Mathematical Physics
The Mathematical physics group at the University of Vienna studies theoretical and mathematical questions in quantum field theory, gravity and quantum gravity. The research includes topics like string theory, supergravity and higherspin gravity, conformal field theory, quantum field theory on noncommutative spacetimes and manybody quantum physics.
Nils Carqueville's interests include rigorous and elegant approaches to quantum field theory. He employs methods and ideas from algebra, topology and higher category theory to tackle aspects of foundational theoretical physics, their interaction with mathematics, and topological quantum computation. 
Cerbino Roberto  Experimental Soft Matter
Experimental Soft Matter
Member of the research group Computational and Soft Matter Physics
We use light to probe soft matter, ranging from fundamental building blocks, such as colloidal particles and polymers, to commercial products, such as yogurts or softeners; we also study the collective behavior of biological systems, for instance bacteria and epithelial cells. Some of our experiments are performed in collaboration with industry and/or in space, for example on the International Space Station (ISS).

Chruściel Piotr  Gravitational Physics
Gravitational Physics
Piotr Chruściel heads the Gravitational Physics group of the Faculty of Physics. His research has been focused on studies of the global structure of solutions of Einstein equations. This covers questions such as cosmic censorship, asymptotics, as well as many global issues in Lorentzian geometry such as the structure of horizons and the area theorem. He has worked on the general relativistic constraint equations, mass in general relativity, and on classification of black hole spacetimes. His recent research interests include the understanding of imprints of general relativity on quantum optics.

Chumak Andrii  Nanomagnetism and Magnonics
Nanomagnetism and Magnonics
The "Nanomagnetism and Magnonics" Research Group is a young and ambitious team that conducts internationally leading research in the field of magnetism. Our main aim is to explore fascinating physical phenomena in the dynamics of magnetic and superconducting systems and to use them for applications.

Dakic Borivoje  Operational quantum information
Operational quantum information
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
Our research interests follow three principal directions: foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum information theory and practical quantum information.

Dellago Christoph  Computational Statistical Mechanics
Computational Statistical Mechanics
Member of the research group Computational and Soft Matter Physics
Using the computational and theoretical tools of modern statistical mechanics, we study phenomena occurring in complex ordered and disordered systems at the nanoscale. Current research focuses on stochastic thermodynamics, nanoscale materials, interfaces, phase transitions and selfassembly in soft matter. A major research effort of the group consists in developing trajectorybased sampling methods and machine learning approaches for the simulation of molecular systems.

Dobrovolskiy Oleksandr  Magnetism in curvilinear geometries
Magnetism in curvilinear geometries
Member of the research group Nanomagnetism and Magnonics
Magnetism in curvilinear geometries has emerged as a rapidly developing domain of modern magnetism with many exciting theoretical predictions and strong application potential. In the SuperSpinLab, we are investigating geometry and topologyinduced effects in curvilinear magnetic nanostructures. In the focus are objects which have not been realized experimentally so far, such as tori, Möbius strips, and spherical shells. The complex magnetic states in these structures are investigated by a broad range of experimental techniques ranging from magnetometry and magnetotransport measurements to advanced microwave and optical spectroscopy methods.

Fajman David  Geometric analysis and gravitation
Geometric analysis and gravitation
Member of the research group Gravitational physics
I work in the field of Geometric Analysis in the context of Mathematical Physics, more specifically on problems in Mathematical Relativity.

Fally Martin  Holography and Neutron Optics
Holography and Neutron Optics
Member of the research group Physics of Functional Materials
Martin Fally’s research interests include nonlinear optics, neutron optics and interferometry, diffraction & diffraction theories, as well as functional materials.

Franchini Cesare  Quantum Materials & Quantum Modelling
Quantum Materials & Quantum Modelling
Member of the research group Computational Materials Physics
The research work is concerned with the theoretical understanding and computational modelling of quantum materials (bulk and surfaces) using first principles methods (primarily VASP). Quantum materials are systems with many interacting degrees of freedom (lattice, spin and electron orbital) that represent a rich platform for the discovery of novel electronic and magnetic phases with fundamental and applicative interest. Specific topics include: Metalinsulator transitions, Polaron physics (electronphonon interactions), noncollinear spin orderings, topological Dirac/Weyl phases, multiferroism and superconductivity.

Fredenhagen Stefan  Mathematical Physics
Mathematical Physics
Stefan Fredenhagen’s research deals with mathematical and theoretical questions in quantum field theory, gravity and string theory, with a special focus on twodimensional conformal field theories and higherspin extensions of gravity.

Golser Robin  Isotope Physics
Isotope Physics
Member of the research group Isotope Physics
The Isotope Physics research group operates the particle accelerator "VERA" (Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator), a modern facility for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Research projects focus on the investigation of our world by means of elements occurring in minute traces, using longlived radioisotopes of both natural and anthropogenic origin. We conduct basic physics experiments as well as a variety of interdisciplinary research programs. Research at VERA contributes to the faculty focus "Physics and Environment".

Hain Karin  Isotope Tracers
Isotope Tracers
Member of the research group Isotope Physics
Our research focuses on the development of sensitive analytical methods based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) to identify characteristic radionuclide signatures to monitor environmental mass transport, e.g. as a response to climate change. This comprises sample preparation methods for different environmental materials as well as employing and extending the advanced AMS instrumentation available at "VERA" (Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator) in order to increase the number of radionuclide tracers accessible by AMS. To answer the question whether a radionuclide is a suitable tracer requires a thorough understanding of its emission sources and its physicochemical behaviour under the complex environmental conditions. Consequently, our research is strongly interdisciplinary and requires input from various disciplines of environmental science / geology.

Heckl Oliver  Optical Frequency Combs and their Application
Optical Frequency Combs and their Application
Member of the Faculty Center for Nano Structure Research
The research in the Christian Doppler Laboratory for MidIR Spectroscopy and Semiconductor Optics covers all aspects of cavity enhanced frequency comb spectroscopy in the midinfrared (midIR). We strive to extend frequency comb technology further into the midIR spectral region and pursue applications with these frequency combs in the field of trace gas detection, precision spectroscopy and molecular fingerprinting.

Hiesmayr Beatrix C.  Quantum Particles at High and Low Energies
Quantum Particles at High and Low Energies
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
Our studies mainly concern the quantum phenomena at high and low energies. Our research spans from very mathematical aspects to experimental ones and, recently, also towards technological realizations.

Hoang André  Particle Physics
Particle Physics
Heavy flavour production at LHC and future Linear Colliders, Jet production at hadron and electronpositron colliders, Determination of quark masses, Radiative corrections in QCD and elektroweak theory; Effective field theories; Theory of unstable particles

Hopf Martin  Basic Experimental Physics Training and University Didactics
Basic Experimental Physics Training
and University DidacticsThe group "Basic Experimental Physics Training and University Didactics" is dedicated to experimental physical basic training and scientific questions on teaching and learning physics.

Huber Marcus  Quantum Information and Thermodynamics
Quantum Information and Thermodynamics
Member of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information – Vienna
Our group aims to understand the role that information plays in the process of learning about and manipulating our physical environment.

Juffmann Thomas  Quantum Imaging and Biophysics
Quantum Imaging and Biophysics
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
In any image, the number of detected probe particles is fundamentally limited, either due to finite acquisition times or probeinduced sample damage. In order to optimize the sensitivity of a microscope, the information that can be extracted from each detected probe particle has to be maximized. We achieve this by employing cavity enhancement, quantum enhancement, and wavefront shaping techniques.

Kantorovich Sofia  Dipolar Soft Matter
Dipolar Soft Matter
Member of the research group Computational and Soft Matter Physics
We are using a fine weave of theory and computer simulations to elucidate the properties of dipolar soft matter.

Kiesel Nikolai  Stochastic and Quantum Thermodynamics with Levitated Nanoparticles
Stochastic and Quantum Thermodynamics
with Levitated NanoparticlesMember of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
CavityOptomechanics provides a unique approach to Stochastic and Quantum Thermodynamics at the single and few particle level. The thermodynamic perspective on overdamped mechanical systems has been successfully and much more extensively studied than on wellisolated mechanics. We experimentally investigate such underdamped mechanical systems. Amongst others, this provides a natural first step towards the extension of this approach into the quantum regime. Our focus lies on the application of levitated optomechanics, where alloptical control of the potential landscape seen by a single or few nanoparticles and reservoir engineering of their optical environment are possible. This will provide a general testbed for proofofprinciple implementations to experimentally adress questions at the interface of thermodynamics, information theory and quantum physics, like information or quantum heat engines.

Kotakoski Jani  Nanostructured and novel materials
Nanostructured and novel materials
Member of the research group Physics of Nanostructured Materials
The research focus of the group is to combine surface science and 2D material manufacturing techniques with atomicresolution electron microscopy to allow creating and studying novel materials and nanostructures with tailored properties.

Kresse Georg  Computational Materials Physics
Computational Materials Physics
We develop first principles methods for materials sciences. First principles means that no parameters whatsoever are used in the simulations, which is achieved by solving the many body Schrödinger equation. Current research focuses on novel Monte Carlo methods for electrons and the combination of machine learning with first principles methods.

Lang Wolfgang  Superconductivity
Superconductivity
Member of the research group Electronic Properties of Materials
Our research focuses on investigations of electronic properties of various novel materials, i.e. physical quantities which are directly related to the response of the charge carriers on electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields.

Likos Christos  Soft Matter Theory and Simulation
Soft Matter Theory and Simulation
Member of the research group Computational and Soft Matter Physics
Work in our group focuses on the research area of Theoretical and Computational Physics of Soft Condensed Matter.

Nunnenkamp Andreas: Quantum Control and Quantum ManyBody Physics
Quantum Control and Quantum ManyBody Physics
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
We are a theory group interested in how to create, control and exploit quantum coherence in the manybody setting. The big questions we address include the interplay of topology, interactions, and disorder, and the control by driving, feedback, and dissipation. We aim at advancing quantum technology and the understanding of nonequilibrium phases of matter.

Peterlik Herwig  Dynamics of Condensed Systems
Dynamics of Condensed Systems
The group "Dynamics of Condensed Systems" studies the dynamics of atomic diffusion processes, the structure of materials on the nanometer scale and the kinetics of structural changes in those materials. The spectrum of the analyzed materials includes natural composites like bone or wood, metal films, metallic glasses, carbon nano phases and inorganicorganic hybrid systems. We employ both computer simulations like Monte Carlo or Reverse Monte Carlo techniques and experimental methods like Xray diffraction in our research.

Pichler Thomas  Low Dimensional Quantum Solids
Low Dimensional Quantum Solids
Member of the research group Electronic Properties of Materials
We dedicate great part of our research to pristine carbon based molecular structures. We aim at understanding which parameters control their electronic structure before one starts to subsequently engineer their properties via different functionalization paths.

Pradler Josef  Theory New Physics
Theory New Physics
Double affiliation with Institute of High Engergy Physics (ÖAW)
Our theory group explores the phenomenology of physics beyond the Standard Model, first and foremost motivated by the dark matter problem. We study axions, weakly interacting massive particles, dark photons, and other particle dark matter candidates. We devise strategies to experimentally and observationally test for their existence and check for their cosmological and astrophysical viability through detailed theoretical calculations.

Procura Massimiliano  Particle Physics
Particle Physics
The research group of Massimiliano Procura develops theoretical methods to maximize the discovery potential of both highenergy and highintensity particle physics experiments.

Rentenberger Christian  Amorphous and Nanostructured Materials
Amorphous and Nanostructured Materials
Member of the research group Physics of Nanostructured Materials
Bulk metallic glasses, Mechanical properties of amorphous thin films, Nanocrystalline bulk materials, Nanostructured thin films

Schafler Erhard  Nanostructured Materials
Nanostructured Materials
Member of the research group Dynamics of Condensed Systems
Bulk Nanocrystalline Metals and Alloys, Xray Profile Analysis, High Entropy Alloys, Functional properties of nanostructured materials, Plasticity of Polymers

Schranz Wilfried  Physics of Functional Materials
Physics of Functional Materials
Research within the group Physics of Functional Materials focuses on 3D Printing of Magnets, Dynamic Mechanical Analysis, Magnetic Sensors, Magnetic Simulation, Neutron Optics and Diffraction, Nonlinear Optics and Photosensitive Materials and Phase Transitions, Glass Transitions.

Schuch Norbert  Quantum Information and Quantum ManyBody Physics
Quantum Information and Quantum ManyBody Physics
Member of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
Quantum Information studies the tasks of information processing and computation using quantum mechanical systems and their nontrivial quantum correlations, termed entanglement. On the other hand, quantum manybody systems exhibit a wealth of unconventional phenomena precisely due to their complex entanglement, which makes them promising candidates for unconventional materials or as a substrate for quantum information processing and computation. We study the interplay of Quantum Information and Quantum ManyBody Physics, combining methods from mathematics, physics, and computer science to obtain a comprehensive understanding of these systems and their usefulness in quantum information processing and computation.

Sepiol Bogdan  Dynamics of Condensed Systems
Dynamics of Condensed Systems
My key research area is the study of the properties of materials, like the dynamics (diffusion and phonons) and kinetics of condensed systems, in particular metallic films, intermetallic alloys, as well as metallic glasses and fast ionic conductors, by scattering and by simulation techniques.

Sperling Marcus  Quantum Field Theories
Marcus Sperling’s research explores fundamental aspects of quantum field theories (QFTs). As QFTs are complex and intricate, we first study a simplification, known as supersymmetric quantum field theories, which allows for more control over notoriously challenging nonperturbative effects. Using deeprooted connections, important physical quantities, such a vacua (ground states) and global symmetries, can be studied via modern mathematics. Conversely, the intuitive QFT techniques offer a fresh perspective on the underlying geometric structures.

Steinacker Harold  Covariant Quantum Spaces, Higher Spin, and Gravity
Covariant Quantum Spaces, Higher Spin, and Gravity
Member of the research group Mathematical Physics.
Harold Steinacker's research interest is the theory of fundamental interactions, and the inclusion of gravity in a consistent quantum framework. The main focus is on an approach known as „Matrix Theory“, which is related to string theory. This provides an independent and welldefined model where spacetime and matter are treated on the same footing, and emerge from more fundamental matrix degrees of freedom. The current focus is on the mechanism underlying emergent gravity within that framework. 
Susi Toma  Singleatom manipulation
Singleatom manipulation
Member of the research group Physics of Nanostructured Materials
The group is focused on understanding the effects of electron and ion irradiation on lowdimensional materials via closely coupled atomically resolved experiments and first principles modeling. Such knowledge enables the implantation of heteroatom impurities into the lattice, reveals their bonding by electron energy loss spectroscopy, and ultimately allows their manipulation with atomic precision using a focused electron beam.

Süss Dieter  Physics of Functional Materials
Physics of Functional Materials
Research within the group Physics of Functional Materials focuses on 3D Printing of Magnets, Dynamic Mechanical Analysis, Magnetic Sensors, Magnetic Simulation, Neutron Optics and Diffraction, Nonlinear Optics and Photosensitive Materials and Phase Transitions, Glass Transitions.

Tröster Andreas  Computational approaches to phase transitions
Computational approaches to phase transitions
Member of the research group Computational and Soft Matter Physics
Most of my research aims at bridging the gap between the traditional phenomenological and mesoscopic vs. the modern atomistic and quantummechanical description of phase transitions in condensed matter, a field which constitutes a central area of research in modern theoretical and materials physics. For many decades, phenomenological or semiquantitative approaches like (i) the Landau theory of phase transitions, which is based on a coarsegrained description of phase transition guided by a rigorous symmetry analysis but numerically determined by fitting a set of expansion coefficients to experimental observables and (ii) the renormalization group theory for critical phenomena have proven to be invaluable tools for our physical understanding of various related phenomena that are often both of theoretical as well as technological importance. Nowadays, however, the arsenal of tools available in modern computational physics allows to significantly refine these concepts. On the one hand, simulations techniques like the Monte Carlo method and molecular dynamics offer to study the statics and dynamics of a given system quantitatively at finite temperature. On the other hand, using quantum mechanical computations based on e.g. modern density functional theory (DFT) we are able to access realistic microscopic energies and forces with high accuracy. For instance, we have recently extended classical Landau theory to high pressure structural phase transition by incorporating information from DFT. In cooperation with faculty member Wilfried Schranz we study the possible emergence of nonzero polarization in domain walls between nonpolar domains with a recently developed layer group symmetry analysis technique. Presently we aim at developing computational approaches involving the machinelearning techniques developed in the Dellago group, which will be combined with Monte Carlo and DFT to simulate this phenomenon on the atomistic level.

Waitz Thomas  Phase transformation in Nanomaterials
Phase transformation in Nanomaterials
Member of the research group Physics of Nanostructured Materials
Reversible shape changes of ferroelastic materials showing martensitic phase transformations can be controlled by temperature, stress or magnetic fields. Grain size at a nanoscale can strongly impact the martensitic phase transformation and therefore the shape memory effect and superelasticity. Nanocrystalline and ultrafine grained shape memory materials including NiTi alloys, lowhysteresis NiTiPd alloys, and ferromagnetic hightemperature NiMnGa alloys are processed by methods SPD. The lattice structures of the martensitic phases, selfaccommodated martensitic domains, transformation temperatures, as well as the enthalpy and entropy changes upon transformation are studied by systematic experiments. These results are analysed using thermodynamic models considering the total Gibbs free energy of ferroelastic domains confined to small grains.

Waltenberger Wolfgang  CMS Physics Analysis
CMS Physics Analysis
Member of the Institute of High Energy Physics
At HEPHY in Vienna I have started an analysis group that searches for signs of supersymmetry at CMS. In the last few years, though, I have focussed on the interpretation of the search results: given a positive or a null result, what are its implications? What do the data really tell us about supersymmetry, or other theories, and the question of naturalness? To this end I founded a small collaboration, and together we developed "SModelS", a software framework that allows us to confront an arbitrary theoretical model with LHC results. It is my ultimate vision that we can learn the fundamental physical laws beyond the Standard Model in an unsupervised fashion, employing modern machine learning techniques.

Walther Philip  Quantum Information Science and Quantum Computation
Quantum Information Science and
Quantum ComputationMember of the research group Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
Our research combines the development of scalable photonic quantum technology for quantum computing and other quantum information applications with the investigation of fundamental quantum science questions. The main activities reach from quantum control of single photons using solidstate photon sources, integrated waveguide technology, tailored nonlinear media and detectors based on superconductor technology to interferometric precision measurements of weak gravitational forces.

Weinzierl Bernadett  Aerosol physics and environmental physics
Aerosol physics and environmental physics
A particular strength of the group is in the development, adaptation and testing of measurement techniques, with a long track record of groundbreaking designs and technologies. Interdisciplinary research investigates zones in exoplanetary systems supporting life based on solvents other than water. Current research is continually integrated into lectures and lab classes on aerosol science, environmental science and global change.

Widmann Eberhard  Hyperfine Structure of Antihydrogen
Hyperfine Structure of Antihydrogen
Member of the Stefan Meyer Institute for Subatomic Physics
The goal of the project is to study the hyperfine structure of antihydrogen, the simplest antimatter atom, and thus search for a violation of the chargeparitytime (CPT) symmetry of Nature. In parallel activities within the AEgIS collaboration at CERNAD were pursued to evaluate a different approach of creating a slow beam of antihydrogen atoms needed for the measurement.

Winkler Paul  Aerosol Nanoparticle Formation
Aerosol Nanoparticle Formation
Member of the research group Aerosol Physics and Environmental Physics
Aerosol nanoparticle formation has been identified as a significant source of ambient aerosol that may impact cloud properties and is considered a health threat. Our research aims at resolving the initial steps in the transition of (trace) vapors to the condensed phase in nanoparticles. Such phase transition processes constitute a vital link between molecular scale interactions and macroscopically relevant outcome.