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About me

I am an experimental quantum physicist trying to ask and answer fundamental questions that are hard to grasp, interesting to investigate, and challenging to implement. I received my Master’s degree in physics from Ulm University, Germany, in 2009. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy (Ulm University, Germany, 2008) and I am a trained electronics engineer. I obtained my PhD degree from the University of Vienna, Austria, in 2014 and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information - Vienna, Austria. In 2019 I joined the strong photonics research hub at Tampere University, where I established the Experimental Quantum Optics research group. Together with my group, we are working on quantum photonics experiments with an emphasis on complex structures of photons for high-dimensional quantum information as well as quantum plasmonics and nonlinear interactions of structured light with matter. We also recently started to venturing into the field of atom physics and structured matter waves.


Fields of expertise

We are working on quantum photonics, structured light, high-dimensional quantum information, quantum plasmonics, quantum nonlinear optics

Top achievements

Robert Fickler has published more than 55 research papers in prestigious journals such as Science, Nature Physics, Nature Photonics, Physical Review Letters, Optica, etc. 

Most important awards and distinctions:

- ERC Starting grant of the European Union (2021)

- Academy Research Fellowship of the Academy of Finland (2019)

- Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2016) 

- Young Scientist of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP)
for “his groundbreaking contributions to the entanglement of complex structures of photons, which have opened up new avenues for quantum communication.” (2015)

- Springer Thesis Award recognizing outstanding PhD research (2015)

- Top 10 breakthroughs of the year 2012 by IOP’s Physics World  

Mission statement

By complex structuring quantum light and studying its interaction with matter, we are having fun in the lab trying to understand the world a tiny bit better and hoping that our research will be useful one day…

Research unit

ENS / Physics / Photonics

Research fields

Photonics, Quantum Optics, Structured Light, Light-Matter Interaction


Current grantee of the Academy Research Fellowship (project BIQOS) for developing integrated operations for structured photons.

Research career

since May 2021 Associate Professor, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland

Jan 2019 - Apr 2021 Assistant Professor (tenure track), Tampere University, Tampere, Finland

May 2018 – Dec 2018 Senior Postdoc (head of laboratory in the group of Marcus Huber), IQOQI Vienna, Vienna, Austria

May 2016 – Apr 2018 Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (groups of Bob Boyd & Ebrahim Karimi), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

May 2015 – Apr 2016 Postdoctoral Fellow (groups of Bob Boyd & Ebrahim Karimi), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Oct 2014 – Apr 2015 Postdoctoral Fellow (group of Anton Zeilinger), IQOQI Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Oct 2009 – Sept 2014 Graduate research assistant (Prea Doc) (group of Anton Zeilinger), CoQuS-PhD-Student (Vienna Doctoral Program for Complex Quantum Systems), University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Mar 2012 – May 2012 Graduate research exchange (group of Andrew White), University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

May 2008 – Apr 2009 Graduate research assistant (Masters), University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany, (group of Ferdinand Schmidt-Kaler)

Selected publications

M. Hiekkamäki, R. F. Barros, M. Ornigotti, R. Fickler
Observation of the quantum Gouy phase
Nature Photonics, 16, 828 (2022)  

M. Hiekkamäki, F. Bouchard, R. Fickler
Photonic Angular Superresolution Using Twisted N00N States
Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 263601 (2021)  

L. Kopf, J. R. Deop Ruano, M. Hiekkamäki, T. Stolt, M. J. Huttunen, F. Bouchard, R. Fickler
Spectral vector beams for high-speed spectroscopic measurements
Optica 8, 930 (2021) 

M. Hiekkamäki, R. Fickler
High-Dimensional Two-Photon Interference Effects in Spatial Modes
Phys. Rev. Lett. 126, 123601 (2021)  

F. Brandt, M. Hiekkamäki, F. Bouchard, M. Huber, R. Fickler
High-dimensional quantum gates using full-field spatial modes of photons
Optica 7, 98 (2020) 

S. Ecker, F. Bouchard, L. Bulla, F. Brandt, O. Kohout, F. Steinlechner, R. Fickler, M. Malik, Y. Guryanova, R. Ursin, M. Huber
Overcoming Noise in Entanglement Distribution
Phys. Rev. X 9, 041042 (2019) 

M. Hiekkamäki, S. Prabhakar, R. Fickler
Near-perfect measuring of full-field transverse-spatial modes of light
Optics Express 27, 31456 (2019) 

A. Safari, R. Fickler, E. Giese, O. S. Magaña-Loaiza, R. W. Boyd, I. De Leon
Measurement of the Photon-Plasmon Coupling Phase Shift
Phys. Rev. Lett. 122, 133601 (2019)  

S. Lemieux, E. Giese, R. Fickler, M.V. Chekhova, R.W. Boyd
A primary radiation standard based on quantum nonlinear optics
Nature Physics 15, 529 (2019)  

H. Larocque, D. Sugic, D. Mortimer, A. J. Taylor, R. Fickler, R. W. Boyd, M. R. Dennis, E. Karimi
Reconstructing the topology of optical polarization knots
Nature Physics 14, 1079 (2018)  

A. Sit, F. Bouchard, R. Fickler, J. Gagnon-Bischoff, H. Larocque, K. Heshami, D. Elser, C. Peuntinger, K. Günthner, B. Heim, C. Marquardt, G.Leuchs, R. W. Boyd, E. Karimi
High-Dimensional Intra-City Quantum Cryptography with Structured Photons
Optica 4, 1006 (2017) 

R. Fickler, G.T. Campbell, B.C. Buchler, P.K. Lam, A. Zeilinger
Quantum entanglement of angular momentum states with quantum numbers up to 10,010
PNAS 113, 13642 (2016) 

Reviews and Roadmaps:

M. Piccardo, et al.
Roadmap on multimode light shaping
Journal of Optics 24, 013001 (202 1) 

F. Bouchard, A. Sit, Y. Zhang, R. Fickler, F. M. Miatto, Y. Yao, F. Sciarrino, E. Karimi
Two-photon interference: the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect
Rep. Prog. Phys. 84, 012402 (2021) 

D. Paneru, E. Cohen, R. Fickler, R. W. Boyd, E. Karimi
Entanglement: Quantum or Classical?
Rep. Prog. Phys. 83, 064001 (2020) 

M. Erhard, R. Fickler, M. Krenn, A. Zeilinger
Twisted Photons: New Quantum Perspectives in High Dimensions
Nature Light: Science & Applications, 7 17146 (2018)