Applied Physics is the combination of excellent physics and a fascination for exploiting this for advanced and novel applications. Indeed, there are no disruptive applications without deep understanding of fundamental physics. Accordingly, Physics brings not only understanding of Nature itself, but also contributes to the society, economy and environment through applications. In order to facilitate this bridge between fundamental physics and its applications, the group of applied physics (GAP) was set up in 1980 with centres of interest voluntarily varied to multiply the chances of technological transfer.
Today, GAP brings together seven active groups in the following fields:
- Biophotonics – Prof. Jean-Pierre Wolf: biophotonics, which develops new processes to trace and even control biological and atmospheric systems. The target applications are identification of bacteria in the ambient air, the measure of pollutants, the early detection of cancers and lightning control.
- Optics – Prof. Nicolas Gisin: Working on fibre optic quantum communication; in particular, the very promising fields of teleportation and quantum networks, both exploiting so-called nonlocal quantum correlations. Quantum memories for photons are another fascinating topic with the potential to extend quantum communication to continental scales.
- Quantum Technologies – Prof. Hugo Zbinden: Developing quantum photonics technologies like single photon detectors, as well as single photon and entangled photon sources. The group is one of leaders in quantum communication over optical fibres; in particular in the field of quantum cryptography, reputedly unbreakable based on the very particular properties of quantum physics. We also have activities in quantum sensing and metrology.
- Quantum Correlations – Prof. Nicolas Brunner: Quantum information theory, exploring fundamental concepts of quantum physics (such as nonlocality), quantum thermodynamics. Development of applications in information processing and metrology.
- Nonlinear Physics – Prof. Jerome Kasparian: The non-linear physics group focuses on the non-linear propagation of high-power lasers and their analogies in various domains of physics, in particular oceanic rogue waves. Envisioned applications include atmospheric remote sensing, weather modulation, and the prevention of giant waves.
- Quantum Electronics – Prof. Alberto Morpurgo: The group activities aim at investigating the electronic properties of new materials that are only one or few atoms thick, and at exploring the possible use of these systems to realise opto-electronic devices with new functionalities.
- Climatic Change and Climate Impacts Research – Prof. Martin Beniston: Physics of climate, exploring the functioning of the climate system using numerical climate models, and attempting to assess the environmental and economic impacts of a climate influenced by human activities in the course of the 21st century.