September 16, 2015

A quantum lab for everyone

General view of the interactive quantum lab (Copyright: Quantum Nanophysics group,
University of Vienna; Image: Mathias Tomandl & Patrick Braun).

Modern science as a photorealistic online game

(September 16, 2015)  A virtual laboratory allows, for the first time, to actively engage with topical quantum physics. The novel learning environment was developed at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Vienna in collaboration with university and high-school students. In time for the start of the new term, the virtual quantum lab is freely available online ( The new teaching concept has been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Modern science for all

Topical research experiments are often too expensive or too complex to be rebuilt and incorporated in teaching. How can one, nevertheless, make modern science accessible to the public? This challenge was tackled in the research group Quantum Nanophysics led by Markus Arndt at the University of Vienna. For the first time, two research laboratories were created as complete, photorealistic computer simulations allowing university and high-school students as well as the general public to virtually access unique instruments. "One could describe it as a flight simulator of quantum physics", says Mathias Tomandl who designed and implemented the essential elements of the simulation in the course of his PhD studies.

Discovering the quantum world – step by step

A learning path guides the visitors of the virtual quantum lab through the world of delocalized complex molecules. A series of lab tasks and essential background information on the experiments enable the visitors to gradually immerse into the quantum world. The engaging software was developed together with university and high-school students and was fine-tuned by periodic didactic input. The teaching concept and the accompanying studies have now been published in the renowned scientific journal "Scientific Reports".

journal reference (Open Access) >>