Two Prestigious Prizes in Quantum Electronics and Optics awarded

By . Published on 19 June 2017 in:
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The European Physical Society is delighted to announce the 2017 winners of its two most prestigious prizes in Quantum Electronics and Optics. These prizes, awarded only once every two years, recognise the highest level of achievements in fundamental and applied research in optical physics. The awards will be presented in a special Plenary Ceremony on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 during the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe (CLEO®/Europe) and the European Quantum Electronics Conference (EQEC), to be held in Munich, Germany.

2017 Prize for Fundamental Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics: Niek F. van Hulst

The 2017 Prize for Fundamental Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics is awarded to Prof. Niek van Hulst, ICREA research professor at ICFO, The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona, Spain. The Prize is awarded to Professor van Hulst “For pioneering contributions to nano-optics and its applications to molecular spectroscopy and to ultrafast light-matter interactions.”

Niek van Hulst studied Physics and Astronomy (BSc 1978) and Experimental Physics (MSc 1981) at the University of Nijmegen, where he also obtained a PhD in Molecular & Laser Physics in 1986. He was a researcher and assistant professor at the University of Twente. He became full professor in Applied Optics at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology of the University of Twente in 1997, where his research fields included nanophotonics, optical scanning probe technology and single molecule detection. In 2005, he moved as ICREA research professor and senior group leader to the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona. There he performed ground-breaking research on the control of light interaction both on the nanometre and the femtosecond scale. Particularly notable achievements include the first demonstration of directional emission from a single molecule coupled to a nano-antenna, the confinement of light down to 20 nm and applications to high resolution imaging, an optical TV-antenna driven by a single quantum dot and ultrafast coherent control of single molecules. Current research topics are the emission control, nano‐focusing and nanoscale imaging by nano‐antenna probes in controlled proximity to single photon emitters and the coherent control of molecular dynamics and nanoscale antenna fields by phase controlled excitation with few‐fs broad-band pulses.

Niek van Hulst heads the academic program of ICFO and is a coordinator of the Spanish CONSOLIDER network He is recipient of the European Science Award of the Körber Foundation 2003 and the City of Barcelona’s science prize Premi Ciutat 2010. He published about 230 papers in refereed journals and is a fellow of the OSA. He was awarded two ERC Advanced Investigator Grants in 2010 and 2015 and a Proof of Concept Grant in 2016.

2017 Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics: Victor Malka

The 2017 Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics is awarded to Prof. Victor Malka, CNRS research director at the Laboratoire d’Optique Appliquée, Palaiseau, France and Professor at the Weizmann Institute for Science, Rehovot, Israel. The Prize is awarded to Professor Malka “For pioneering research using ultra-high intensity lasers for laser-plasma accelerators and their applications.”

Victor Malka graduated in physics from the University of Paris XI-Orsay and did his PhD in atomic and plasma physics at the Ecole Polytechnique (1987-90). He is a CNRS research director at the Laboratoire d’Optique Appliquée (ENSTA-CNRS-Ecole polytechnique), and since 2015 a Professor at the Weizmann Institute for Science. He has also been Professor at Ecole Polytechnique (2003-2015). Victor Malka’s research interests include different topics in atomic physics, inertial fusion, and laser plasma interaction. His current works is mainly devoted to the fields of relativistic plasmas and laser plasma accelerators, in which he made several breakthrough contributions. He pioneered the fundamental physics and new technology of compact particle accelerators based on the interaction of ultra-intense laser with plasma to support electric fields exceeding TV/m. Particular achievements are the demonstration of the new regime of acceleration based on “forced laser wakefields”, the demonstration of the bubble regime allowing the production of quasi-monoenergetic energy beams and the demonstration of the first controlled injection of electron bunches in laser accelerators. More recently, he has developed new gamma ray and X-ray sources and is promoting laser accelerators for medical applications. He contributed to the creation of a spin-off company, SourceLAB, dedicated to targetry and compact gamma ray sources for non-destructive material inspection.

He has published about 340 articles and has been invited to more than 175 international conferences. He received numerous national and international prizes including in 2017 the Julius Springer prize and the F. Holweck prize from the SFP and IOP. He obtained two Advanced and two Proof of Concept grants from ERC and has coordinated many European projects structuring the laser, plasma and accelerators communities.

Background Information on EPS-QEOD

The European Physical Society provides an international forum for physicists and acts as a federation of national physical societies. Founded in 1968, the EPS plays a leading role in both scientific and policy activities within the community of European physicists. The Quantum Electronics and Optics Division (QEOD) of the EPS acts as a focal point for European research in optics and photonics through its wide range of strategic activities, sponsorship and conference organisation. In addition to the major awards described above, it also awards Young Researcher (Fresnel) and PhD Student Prizes, which will be announced shortly. See

Thorsten Ackemann
Chairman of Quantum Electronics and Optics Awards Committee 2017
martti [dot] kauranen [at] tut [dot] fi

 Luc Bergé
Chair of the Quantum Electronics and Optics Division of EPS
luc [dot] berge [at] cea [dot] fr

  1. EPS Executive Committee and Staff activities June 2017

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