A New Era in Metrology at the Faculty of Physics: SFB COMB.AT 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)

project lead Oliver Heckl (University of Vienna), Thorsten Schumm (TU Vienna), Andrius Baltuška (TU Vienna), Adriana Pálffy-Buß (JMU Würzburg), Mikhail Lemeshko (ISTA). © Valentina Shumakova, Georg Winkler, Foto Wilke, Andrius Baltuška, Bilderstolz, Mikhail Lemeshko