Ursula Keller obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from ETH Zurich, Switzerland, in 1984. Following that, she pursued her M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Stanford University in California, completing her degrees in 1987 and 1989, respectively. Since 1993, Ursula has held the position of a tenured professor of Physics at ETH Zurich.
Keller‘s primary research interests lie in the exploration and advancement of ultrafast science and technology. One of her significant contributions includes the invention of the semiconductor saturable absorber mirror (SESAM), a breakthrough enabling passive modelocking of diode-pumped solid-state lasers. This innovation established ultrafast solid-state lasers for both scientific and industrial applications. Ursula has further pushed the boundaries of few-cycle pulse generation and achieved full electric field control at petahertz frequencies. She also played a pioneering role in stabilizing frequency combs from modelocked lasers. In the realm of time-resolved attosecond metrology, she introduced the attoclock, a device that resolved electron tunneling delay and observed the dynamical Franz-Keldysh effect in condensed matter for the first time.
Ursula Keller has been honored with prestigious awards, including the Joseph Fraunhofer Award / Robert M. Burley Prize and the Charles Hard Townes Award from The Optical Society. In 2018, she received The European Inventor Award, among various other medals and recognitions. Notably, she is recognized for her efforts in promoting gender equality and supporting women in science.
Photo source: ETH Zurich