Erling Riis joined the Physics Department in 1991 after having worked as a post-doc with Nobel Laureate Steven Chu at Stanford for two years. Initially research at Strathclyde concentrated on high-resolution atomic spectroscopy and the development of the highly specialised laser sources required for these experiments. This work also formed the foundation of the establishment of activities at Strathclyde in laser cooling of atoms.

Presently this work ranges from fundamental studies of atom interferometry to the development of a platform for miniaturising cold atom based quantum technology.