Christoph Braun - LMU München
1. Briefly describe your current position and research focus.
I am a PhD student working on experimental quantum physics. Together with my colleagues, we are implementing topological models using ultra-cold atoms in a honeycomb lattice.Our research is carried out at the chair of Immanuel Bloch, our laboratory is supported by the LMU Munich and the MPQ.
2. How does a typical workday looks like for you?
A usual workday starts with a bike ride to the lab. The first thing we check after entering the laboratory in the morning is the data acquired during the night, it's a great start to see new fascinating results. We then verify the performance of the experiment; this involves checking if everything still behaves exactly as we need it to. Once we made sure that our experiment is performing well and calibrated, we start to do "real" experiments. By "real" experiments I mean, that we are trying to approach what has not been done before. This is the fun part; we take new data and compare it to predictions, or try to find a model describing our findings. A lot of work goes into finding the "right way" to look for the signal one would like to observe. If we manage to get a step closer to the signal it was a successful day, if not we try again.
3. What was the biggest challenge you faced this year?
This year involved quite some changes we implemented on our experimental setup. One big challenge was to implement a very well controlled trapping beam in our setup. The premise to do so was not great, and we spend a lot of time aligning the system, we hope it now works well enough to observe the effects we are hoping for.
4. Why did you choose your field of research?
I chose my field of research because I did not know too much about the concepts of topology and how to implement it using a gas of cold atoms - I was curious to learn more. I already knew that working on these experiments is extremely interesting and fascinating. This opportunity combined very well the curiosity and interests I had, so I went for it - so far I don't regret it.