ZEISS Research Award

There are many different ways ZEISS promotes science. In 1990 the company created the Carl Zeiss Research Award for outstanding achievements in the field of optics. The award has been advertised 13 times and awarded to a total of 20 recipients. Many award-winners have subsequently received other important distinctions e.g. four Carl Zeiss Research Award recipients have won the Nobel Prize.

The ZEISS Research Award, the successor to the Carl Zeiss Research Award, was conferred for the first time in 2016. This new award continues the principle of the Carl Zeiss Research Award which was bestowed by the Ernst Abbe Fund in the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and the Humanities in Germany.

The ZEISS Research Award is presented and sponsored exclusively by ZEISS. Outstanding achievements in international research are honored.

The award is worth a total of 40,000 euros.

  • 2018

    Prof. Tobias J. Kippenberg and Prof. Jean-Pierre Wolf are the 2018 winners of the prestigious ZEISS Research Award. The jury was impressed by their exceptional work.

    Prof. Tobias J. Kippenberg

    Tobias Kippenberg, Professor at the Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), is a pioneer in the field of cavity optomechanics and microresonator-based optical frequency combs. His research has demonstrated that, by using microresonators – which can confine light in an extremely small space and guide it – the faint forces exerted by light rays can be used to measure and cool mechanical movements in the quantum regime. This means, for instance, that high-precision sensors can be developed to measure mechanical movements that are several orders of magnitude more precisely than the currently available position sensors, and that are even sensitive enough to measure the quantum mechanical “zero point motion” of a mechanical oscillator.

    Prof. Jean-Pierre Wolf

    Jean-Pierre Wolf, Professor at the Biophotonics Institute at the University of Geneva, will be honored for his groundbreaking application of ultra-short, ultra-intense laser pulses in researching the earth’s atmosphere. His research makes it possible to find out more about pollutants in the earth’s atmosphere and potentially control lightning and condensation in clouds. This could even make it possible to prevent extreme weather. The focus of his research efforts has been on the applications of ultra-short spectroscopy for biological, medical and environmental research.

    Read the press release

    The awards will be presented during the ZEISS Symposium “Optics in the Quantum World” on 18 April 2018 at the ZEISS Forum in Oberkochen.

  • 2016

    Fedor Jelezko and Jörg Wrachtrup

    Jörg Wrachtrup

    © Photo: David Ausserhofer

    Fedor Jelezko

    © Photo: Elvira Eberhardt

    The winners of the ZEISS Research Award in 2016 are Fedor Jelezko and Jörg Wrachtrup. They have been honored for their outstanding work on quantum technology with optically addressable spins in diamond.

    Diamonds are the focus of the research conducted by Wrachtrup and Jelezko. The researchers deliberately integrate foreign atoms into the diamond lattice. The resulting artificial defects in diamond are very effectively shielded against influences from the surrounding area. This makes it possible to observe their quantum states, for which extremely complex equipment is normally required, even under room conditions. In this way the prepared diamonds can be used to process information at exceptional speed and transmit it with physical encoding (quantum cryptography).

    Researchers have recently discovered that these diamonds can be used for totally different purposes. The scientists have succeeded in proving that diamonds can be used to build sensors which promise to open up new, pioneering applications, e.g. in medical technology for tumor diagnostics or for the navigation of self-driving cars.

    The ZEISS Research Award and the Carl Zeiss Award for Young Researchers will be presented at the ZEISS Symposium Optics in the Digital World on 23 June 2016.