In the ERC project Jens Eisert aims to explore the non-equilibrium dynamics of complex physical systems such as solids. How do such systems with many degrees of freedom reach equilibrium? How do important properties such as having a certain temperature emerge, seemingly by themselves, through natural dynamics far from equilibrium? On the one hand, such properties can be explained coherently by statististical physics. On the other hand, one of the great mysteries of physics is the question of how these equilibria can be compatible with the microscopic basic equations. What role is played by concepts of solid-state theory and the so-called integrability? New methods, both mathematical and numerical ones, hold promise for addressing these issues. In novel experiments with ultracold atoms such questions can also be investigated under precisely controlled conditions in the laboratory.
Practically speaking, systems far from equilibrium allow entirely novel applications in quantum technologies, i.e., technologies whose functioning is based on the theory of quantum mechanics and not on the classical mechanics that everyday human intuition is based on. Thus, new ideas about non-equilibrium dynamics yield promise for the development of architectures of quantum memories or systems in which quantum states can be stored over a relatively long time and data can be safely transferred over long distances. Another possibility is the development of quantum simulators, that is, systems that mimic other quantum systems, something which cannot at present be described, even with months of computing time performed by today's supercomputers.
Jens Eisert, already a leading scientist in the field of quantum physics, aims to investigate all of these fields as part of his ERC project, using new theoretical and mathematical approaches in collaboration with experimental physicists. One of the reviewers of Eisert's ERC proposal, when writing in favor of approving the grant, noted that Eisert is one of the inventors of the methods that can be applied in this area of research.
Jens Eisert, born in 1970, studied at the University of Freiburg and the University of Connecticut (U.S.A.), and earned his doctorate at the University of Potsdam. For several years he was a lecturer at Imperial College London. In 2004 he was appointed a junior professor at the University of Potsdam and was also the recipient of a European Young Investigator Award (EURYI), the predecessor of the ERC Starting Grant. In 2011 Jens Eisert was appointed a professor in the Department of Physics at Freie Universität Berlin, where he is a currently a professor of quantum many-body theory, quantum information theory, and quantum optics.