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May 14th, 2009
The European Physical Society announced the 2009 winners of its senior Prizes in Quantum Electronics and Optics. These prizes are awarded only once every two years, and recognize the very highest level of achievements in fundamental and applied research.
The 2009 Senior Prize for Fundamental Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics is awarded to Alain Aspect, French CNRS Distinguished Researcher, and Professor at the Institut d'Optique Graduate School and at the Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau near Paris. Alain Aspect is a member of both the French Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Technologies, and a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). Aspect has made numerous contributions to the fields of quantum and atom optics, and it was his seminal experiments in 1982 that confirmed the counterintuitive nature of quantum entanglement to which Einstein himself had objected. These results paved the way for the modern research revolution in quantum information processing, and the development of technologies such as quantum cryptography and quantum computing. Since then he has performed numerous other pioneering studies in the fields of both quantum and atom optics, and his work has included — between 1985 and 1992 — a highly significant collaboration on laser cooling of atoms together with 1997 Nobel prize winner Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.
The 2009 Senior Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics is awarded to Thomas Ebbesen, Professor at the University of Strasbourg in France, and Director of ISIS, a multidisciplinary research institute funded both by the University and the French CNRS. Thomas Ebbesen is also a Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. Ebbesen has carried out research into a range of topics in physics and chemistry, including novel carbon materials and superconductivity. The Quantum Electronics and Optics Prize is awarded for his work carried out since the early 1990s into the novel optical properties of nanostructured metals and in particular for his discovery of how light can be efficently transmitted through subwavelength holes. His pioneering experiments have greatly contributed to the emergence of the field of surface plasmon photonics. Ebbesen's work is at the interface of nanoscience and photonics, and impacts on numerous strategic technologies such as opto-electronics, optical communications and sensing.
The awards will be presented in a Ceremony on Tuesday June 16th during the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) Europe, held during the World of Photonics Congress in Munich, Germany.
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