A pioneer in the field of ultrafast lasers, Ursula Keller has revolutionized photonics and enabled important scientific and industrial applications in physics, chemistry, and biology. Keller developed the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM) for generating ultrashort pulses, which transformed femtosecond lasers from complex devices only used by specialists to reliable instruments suitable for use in any general-purpose scientific laboratory and industrial applications. Most ultrashort lasers today utilize her SESAM mode-locking technology for optical communication, precision measurements, microscopy, ophthalmology, and micromachining applications. Her work has also enabled the optical frequency comb revolution and the invention of the attoclock to resolve electron tunneling a highly debated topic ever since the early days in quantum mechanics. Keller’s development of carrier phase stabilization and frequency comb technology during the 1990s was integral to Hänsch and Hall’s development of laser-based spectroscopy that garnered the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics.
An IEEE Fellow, Keller is a professor in the physics department at ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland and serves as a director of the Swiss research program NCCR MUST in ultrafast science.