Prof. dr. R. (Ronald) Hanson

Ronald Hanson is Professor of Quantum Physics at TU Delft and scientific director of QuTech. He is fascinated by an exceptional phenomenon from quantum mechanics called entanglement. Two entangled particles behave like a single particle, even when they are far apart. This entanglement is an important condition for the functioning of future quantum communication, quantum cryptography and quantum computers. Hanson is a pioneer in the area of entangled electrons and a global leader in quantum networks based on entanglement.

Prof. dr. R. Hanson (Photography: Studio Oostrum/Hollandse Hoogte)

During the past ten years, Ronald Hanson has propelled quantum science to new levels. In highly challenging experiments, he seeks the boundaries of solid-state physics, atomic physics and optical physics. As a young research leader, Hanson could already compete with the international top in his field.

Quantum internet a step closer

Hanson combines insights and techniques in physics, electrical engineering and computer science in groundbreaking experiments that bring a future unhackable quantum internet a step closer. He demonstrated how precarious electronic quantum states could be retained for a longer period, discovered how he could control individual spins of electrons or atomic nuclei, and developed a new set of tools to control quantum particles in solids. His approach led, amongst other things, to a sensational experiment in which he managed to entangle particles separated by a distance of more than one kilometre. He also managed to teleport information from one particle to the other.

Linking fundamental research to technology development

Hanson honours the principle of fundamental questions leading to new discoveries that lead to new applications. Following this vision, he was one of the initiators of the research Institute QuTech, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO that links fundamental research to technology development. Hanson’s ambition is to realise the world’s first quantum internet based on entanglement. He has therefore sought collaboration with partners like the Amsterdam Internet Exchange and KPN.

In his relatively short career, Hanson has already received several prestigious prizes, such as the Ammodo KNAW Award and the Huibregtsen Award for Excellence in Science and Society. He was also the youngest laureate to receive the John Stewart Bell prize, and in 2019, he was elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is able to identify successful research fields, motivate people for these fields and acquire the necessary funding. He has received a Vidi grant, a Vici grant, an ERC Starting Grant and an ERC Consolidator Grant, and as a principal researcher, he is involved in both a European flagship programme and an NWO Gravitation programme.

As an authority in the area of quantum science, Hanson is often invited as a speaker or expert for scientific purposes as well as for the general public. He is a gifted and enthusiastic speaker and lecturer, who believes in giving sufficient personal attention to his students. That is why he has chosen to limit the size of his research group. The young researchers in this group are therefore particularly well trained and are highly popular with top research groups across the world.

Interview with Ronald Hanson

  • Who is Ronald Hanson?

    1976 born on 20 November in Groningen

    graduated in applied physics from the University of Groningen with a graduation project under Spinoza Laureate Bart van Wees


    selected for Japan Prize-Winners Programme which enabled him to spend a year in Japan


    obtained his doctorate cum laude from TU Delft for his research into electron spins in small semiconductor structures in the group of Spinoza Laureate Leo Kouwenhoven. Departed to the United States later that year for a two-year postdoc position at the University of California Santa Barbara under David Awschalom



    started a research group as assistant professor and later associate professor at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience of TU Delft


    elected a member of the Young Academy


    discovered a new method to protect quantum states which acted as a launchpad for breakthroughs in the subsequent years in controlling individual electron spins and atomic nuclei spins


    appointed Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience of TU Delft


    demonstrated entanglement between particles separated by a distance of three metres. This experiment laid the foundation for the realisation of a quantum internet based on entanglement


    carried out an experiment in which quantum properties are shared over a distance of 1.3 kilometres. This “loophole-free Bell test” received worldwide attention and was chosen as a top-10 breakthrough of 2015 by both Nature and Science


    received Ammodo KNAW Award


    received Huibregtsen Award


    appointed scientific director of QuTech, a joint research institute of TU Delft TNO that he helped establish


    is the youngest laureate ever to receive John Stewart Bell Prize


    elected a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities


    first to demonstrate “on demand” entanglement that is maintained long enough to be sent further to a following node in a quantum network


    elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences