About me

Hi, my name is Torsten Scholak. This is my personal website.

giving a talk at the 2011 DPG Spring Meeting in Dresden

I'm a theoretical physicist in the group of Paul Brumer (Chemical Physics Theory Group and Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control at the University of Toronto, Canada). In 2011, after three years in the group of Andreas Buchleitner (Quantum Optics and Statistics Group), I received my PhD in physics from the University of Freiburg, Germany.

You can find me on UofT’s downtown campus in the chemistry department. My office address is 423-80 St. George St, Toronto, ON, M5S 3H6, Canada. I would give you the phone number, but the landline phone there is unreliable. Send me an email instead.

Below please find my abridged CV.


2014 — present
Teaching Assistant
University of Toronto (Canada)
2011 — present
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Toronto (Canada)
Chemical Physics Theory Group and Centre for Quantum Information and Quantum Control
Topics: Statistics of excitation energy transport in ultracold Rydberg gases ⋅ Suppression of diffusion in disordered media ⋅ The role of quantum effects in the coherent control of dynamical processes in atoms and molecules with light ⋅ Wave-particle complementarity, quantum erasure, and delayed choice ⋅ Tests of Bell-type inequalities in the setting of coherent control.
Reference: Prof. Paul Brumer ⋅ +1 (416) 978 3569 ⋅ pbrumer@chem.utoronto.ca
2008 — 2011
Graduate Student/Research Assistant
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Germany)
Quantum Optics and Statistics Group
Topics: Enhancement of excitation energy transport in biological systems by quantum coherence ⋅ Optimization of random networks mimicking the FMO light-harvesting complex ⋅ Spectral statistics of ultracold Rydberg gases.
Reference: Prof. Andreas Buchleitner ⋅ +49 761 203 5830 ⋅ abu@uni-freiburg.de
2008 — 2010
Teaching Assistant
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Germany)
2007 — 2008
Undergraduate Researcher
Universität Bayreuth (Germany)
Quantum Transport of Light and Matter Group (now defunct)
Topics: Entanglement detection from quantum interference measurements ⋅ Young’s double-slit experiment with the slits replaced by two atoms.
Reference: Prof. Cord Axel Müller ⋅ +49 7531 88 3813 ⋅ cord.mueller@uni-konstanz.de
2007 — 2008
Teaching Assistant
Universität Bayreuth (Germany)


traditional German PhD ceremony

2008 — 2011
Doctor of Philosophy
The University of Freiburg (Germany)
Discipline: Theoretical physics ⋅ Grade: magna cum laude ⋅ Thesis: “Transport and coherence in disordered networks” (Scholak 2011)
Advisors: Prof. Andreas Buchleitner, Priv.-Doz. Thomas Wellens
2002 — 2008
German Diplom
The University of Bayreuth (Germany)
Discipline: Physics ⋅ Grade: A+ (1.2) ⋅ Thesis: “Interference of photons scattered by entangled atoms” (Scholak 2008)
Advisors: Prof. Cord Axel Müller


Scientific computing, numerical analysis, data analysis, high-performance computing ⋅ C, Mathematica, python, LaTeX, html, shell scripts ⋅ Linux, Mac OS, FreeBSD, Windows
English ⋅ Full professional proficiency
German ⋅ Native proficiency


  1. Scholak, Torsten, 2011, “Transport and Coherence in Disordered Networks,” PhD thesis, (Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg). Available at: http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/8283/.
    View Download PDF.

    A current and actively discussed issue are the mechanisms that drive efficient transport across photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes. Recent experiments detected long-lived quantum coherence in these systems, in the process rendering some long-accepted textbook knowledge obsolete: Although the very fabric of life—atoms and molecules—is of a quantum nature, these effects were thought to be irrelevant for most biological processes, simply because they operate at room temperature and involve vastly many degrees of freedom. Could nature, in order to enhance the efficiency of principal tasks, take advantage of quantum mechanical coherent dynamics? In this thesis, we will investigate the transport properties of an ensemble of spatially disordered, finitely sized molecular networks with dipolar interactions in order to model energy transport in photosynthetic complexes in consideration of the variability of organic samples and the experimental uncertainties. For this task, we employ and compare several measures of transport efficiency. In contrast to the widely used hypothesis stating that quantum coherence effects generally lead to localization and thus hinder transport, we will identify certain rare optimal conformations featuring fast and perfectly efficient transport of energy—solely by means of constructive quantum interference. Furthermore, we will unveil that efficient transport is always associated with the build-up of strong multisite entanglement. Adding dephasing noise—which gradually destroys interference and thereby gives rise to essentially classical transport—increases the transport efficiency of most configurations, but, as we show, the highest efficiencies are attained only by the optimal configurations in case of purely coherent dynamics, i.e., in the absence of noise. Finally, we attempt to extrapolate the transport statistics to infinitely sized systems.

      author = {Scholak, Torsten},
      date-added = {2015-03-01 05:21:10 +0000},
      date-modified = {2015-03-02 06:01:15 +0000},
      month = sep,
      school = {Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg},
      title = {Transport and coherence in disordered networks},
      url = {http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/8283/},
      year = {2011},
      bdsk-url-1 = {http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/8283/}
  2. ———, 2008, “Photon-Interferenz Bei Streuung an Verschränkten Atomen,” Master's thesis, (Universität Bayreuth).
    View Download PDF.

    In dieser Arbeit wird ein Vorschlag zur Implementierung von Verschränkungszeugen mittels Ein-Teilchen-Interferenz vorgestellt. Nach Behandlung des allgemeinen Konzeptes werden mögliche Realisationen einerseits mit Elektronen in mesoskopischen Aharonov-Bohm-Ringen als auch mit Photonen und Atomen in der Youngschen Doppelspalt- sowie einer Doppelstreuanordnung diskutiert.

      author = {Scholak, Torsten},
      date-added = {2015-03-01 05:25:59 +0000},
      date-modified = {2015-03-01 16:17:05 +0000},
      language = {german},
      month = jan,
      school = {Universität Bayreuth},
      title = {Photon-Interferenz bei Streuung an verschränkten Atomen},
      year = {2008}

Please click here for a complete list of publications.