Establishing New Research Topics

Sebastian Schöps and Sascha Preu appointed to new Kittler professorships

10.07.2018 von

How can early career researchers be promoted and research at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology be designed in such a way that groundbreaking research results can be achieved? The department developed a new professorship model for this purpose. It was named after the world's first professor of electrical engineering Professor Erasmus Kittler from Darmstadt.

The new Kittler professors Sebastian Schöps (left) and Sascha Preu in front of Erasmus Kittler's bust. Image: Andriana Lespukh
The new Kittler professors Sebastian Schöps (left) and Sascha Preu in front of Erasmus Kittler's bust. Image: Andriana Lespukh

The first two new Kittler professors at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology (etit) of the TU Darmstadt are appointed with Professor Sebastian Schöps, Head of the Computational Engineering Reasearch Group at the TU Darmstadt Graduate School of the same name, and Professor Sascha Preu, Head of the Terahertz Components and Systems Research Group.

Sebastian Schöps has been assistant professor at the TU Darmstadt since 2012. He received his doctorate in physics from the Catholic University of Leuven and in mathematics from the University of Wuppertal. With this scientific background, he is a good bridge builder between the disciplines of electrical engineering and information technology and natural science physics and mathematics. At the Research Group of Computational Engineering he is mainly concerned with the simulation of multiphysical phenomena and their modelling by numerical methods.

Two young early career researchers will be the first Kittler professors

For example: In the search for the best possible design of an electromechanical energy converter, engineers can no longer do without complex mathematical modelling and simulation methods. Physical effects such as rotation, induction and heat generation must be taken into account. This is where Sebastian Schöps' researchers in the field of computational engineering come in – as in the PASIROM research project, for example.

Sascha Preu has been assistant professor at the Institute of Microwave Technology and Photonics since 2014. His Research Group is terahertz system technology. The terahertz range (100 GHz to 10 THz) lies between infrared radiation and the microwave range and thus at the boundary between electronics and optics. Although much scientific progress has been made, the terahertz range is still the least used range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Sascha Preu received his doctorate in 2009 from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light and worked as a postdoctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara and FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. One focus of his research work is the development of electronic and photonic terahertz components as well as photonic circuits and the necessary technologies. The integration of broadband photonic components on one chip offers many advantages over conventional metallic circuits, e.g. significantly lower losses at high frequencies.

Last year, Sascha Preu received a grant of 1.5 million Euros from the European Research Council (ERC) for his research work. The ERC assessed Sascha Preu's work as excellent and innovative basic and frontier research.

„I am very pleased that Sebastian Schöps and Sascha Preu are taking over the first two Kittler professorships at the department and the TU Darmstadt. We have high hopes for the new professorship model and want to further raise the profile of the department as an institution that is strong in research,“ said the dean of the etit department, Prof. Jutta Hanson.

The Kittler Professorship: A model for groundbreaking research

At the beginning of the considerations on the future research organization at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology was the question of the optimal size of scientific working groups. There are findings from scientific research according to which outstanding research achievements are mainly made by smaller research groups. With a very large group size, negative influences on publication practice can be observed.

The Kittler professorship, like the classical professorship, will be open-ended. It is financed with a somewhat smaller budget from state funds, but also does not have to take on personnel-intensive tasks such as the supervision of large technical infrastructures or teaching in basic courses. The holders of the Kittler Professorship should be able to focus in particular on future-oriented special fields and occupy the corresponding focal points in research and teaching.