Light and matter: Photonics scientist to occupy the cluster's first junior professorship


Dr. Sebastian Klembt from the Chair of Applied Physics of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) is the new Junior Professor for Light-Matter Interaction and Topological Photonics. At the same time, the physicist leads the first Junior Research Group of the Würzburg-Dresden Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter.
Prof. Klembt investigates the coupling of light and matter in 2D materials as well as in electronic and photonic semiconductor nanostructures. The scientist thus plays a key role in the “Topological Photonics” research area of ​​the Cluster of Excellence. While digital information is commonly transmitted by sluggishly flowing electrons in semiconductors, a current research approach is devoted to the possibility of using photons, i.e., light, for this. In this special case, however, photons and electrons have to be coupled. This promises a number of new and exciting features and functionalities.
In 2018, Dr. Sebastian Klembt was a leading researcher of an exciting publication on the coupling of light and matter, published in the renowned journal Nature. For the first time, a “topological insulator made of light and matter” – a new type of quantum material – was presented, at the edges of which particles move where light and matter (photons and electrons) are closely linked. A special feature ist that the direction of transport of these particles can be controlled by means of a magnetic field, which is not easily possible with pure light particles. An innovation with double potential: It could be suitable for switchable electronic systems as well as for laser applications.
Klembt has been using this new type of topological isolator for his research since then – also within the framework of ct.qmat: “Since the first topological isolator made of light and matter, we have transferred the symbiotic connection of light and matter to many other physical systems. I am sure that we will discover unique properties and new quantum phenomena in the next few years,” predicts the researcher, who is currently working with his team on technological implementations of semiconductor-based topological lasers and optical sensors.

Date & Facts

15 Jan 2021


Academic career

Sebastian Klembt, born in 1983, grew up in Bremen. He studied physics at the University of Bremen, wrote his diploma thesis at the ETH in Zurich and obtained his doctorate in Bremen in 2013. This was followed by two and a half years as a postdoc at the Institut Néel in Grenoble. In 2015 Klembt came to the JMU as head of a research group for spectroscopy and topological photonics. Here he was appointed tenure-track junior professor in mid-November 2020. 


Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat
The Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter is a joint research collaboration by the Julius-Maximilians- Universität Würzburg and the TU Dresden since 2019. More than 250 scientists from 33 countries and four continents perform research on topological quantum materials that reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperature, high pressure, or strong magnetic field. Making these special properties usable under everyday conditions, will be the basis for revolutionary quantum chips and new types of technical applications. The Cluster of Excellence is funded within excellence strategy of the federal and state governments.
Prof. Klembt occupy the cluster's first junior professorship of the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter.
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Prof. Dr. Sebastian Klembt, Juniorprofessor am Lehrstuhl für Technische Physik, Universität Würzburg, Tel: +49 931 31-85980, 


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