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Outstanding doctoral thesis on Terahertz spectroscopy

SKZ CEO, Thomas Hochrein, graduates with highest honour


When Thomas Hochrein submitted his thesis at the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Würzburg University in June 2018, it was awarded "summa cum laude". Facing the five-member committee chaired by Prof. Dr. Maik Finze, he defended with outstanding success his dissertation on the subject of “Terahertz Spectroscopy: System Development and Application in Polymer Analytics".

The certified physicist’s doctoral thesis included topics initiated by Prof. Martin Koch at the Institute for High Frequency Technology in Braunschweig, which were continued and intensified by Hochrein at the SKZ. He succeeded in developing a new and efficient delaying method for so-called pump-probe experiments (OSCAT: Optical Sampling by Laser Cavity Tuning). The process has now been patented, providing many advantages over traditional methods. Many other research groups - even outside of terahertz technology - have already taken up the results of this process, intensified them and adapted them for other applications.

Hochrein showed that terahertz measurements in hot plastic melts provide insightful information about filler content and dispersion quality during processing. He was also able to make significant contributions to clarifying intramolecular and intermolecular interactions for polymer analysis in the terahertz frequency range, particularly of polyamides. For this purpose, in addition to experiments and modelling he also applied quantum mechanical simulation methods. The results of his work have already found application in commercial products of the laser and metrology industries.

After its successful defence, the doctoral thesis will soon be published. Then Hochrein will receive his doctoral certificate.

His joy is shared by his doctoral supervisor, SKZ Institute Director Prof. Martin Bastian: "With his work, Hochrein has made an essential contribution to the development of terahertz systems and their possible application, as well as low-frequency vibration states in polyamides. It combines several science and engineering disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, and engineering. In all these areas he proved his excellent expertise in the relevant subject areas through his work, which makes me very proud."

Since June 2017 Hochrein has been Managing Director of the Education and Research division at the SKZ.

In 2009 he won the Otto von Guericke Award granted by the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) for his pioneering research in terahertz technology at the SKZ. In addition, he was nominated by the AiF for the 2016 Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German Future Award) for his work.