A new era in metrology starts at the Faculty of Physics: SFB COMB.AT has been approved


The Special Research Area COMB.AT (funding of €3.1 million), led by Assistant Professor Oliver Heckl, will utilize the orbital angular momentum of light to measure physical constants. This innovative method will significantly enhance the precision. The interdisciplinary collaboration is set to start in 2024.

In the COMB.AT special research area (“Spezialforschungsbereich”, SFB), an ambitious endeavor in optical metrology, a team of researchers explores fundamental physical constants with unprecedented precision. Utilizing an innovative method that employs light with orbital angular momentum (OAM), COMB.AT is set to enhance measurement accuracy in both molecular and nuclear spectroscopy.

This research synergizes the expertise of leading theoretical and experimental physicists, collaborating at the forefront of scientific knowledge within the SFB. Focusing on electric-dipole-forbidden transitions, accessible through OAM light, COMB.AT initiates a new era in precision measurement and the evolution of innovative nuclear and molecular clocks.

This pioneering collaboration within the SFB paves the way for long-term, interdisciplinary research, substantially extending the frontiers of optical metrology and spectroscopy, and establishing a robust scientific infrastructure for high-caliber research.


·        Drei neue Spezialforschungsbereiche starten in Österreich (FWF News Update, German)

·        Coherent Optical Metrology Beyond Dipole-Allowed Transitions (FWF Research Radar)

The image shows the COMB.AT logo (top) and portraits of the participating scientists (bottom). From left, project lead Oliver Heckl (University of Vienna), Thorsten Schumm, Andrius Baltuška (both TU Vienna), Adriana Pálffy-Buß (Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg), Mikhail Lemeshko (Institute of Science and Technology Austria).

© Valentina Shumakova (COMB.AT logo); portraits: Georg Winkler (Oliver Heckl), Foto Wilke (Thorsten Schumm), Andrius Baltuska (Andrius Baltuska), Bilderstolz (Adriana Palffy-Buß), Mikhail Lemeshko (Mikhail Lemeshko)