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The EPS Quantum Electronics Prizes

Prizes of the EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics division (QEOD)

The Quantum Electronics and Optics division (QEOD) of the European Physical Society (EPS) 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, recognize 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 (10:30 - 12:30, Room 1) during the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe (CLEO®/Europe) and the European Quantum Electronics Conference (EQEC), held in Munich, Germany.

The EPS Quantum Electronics Prizes:

These are the two senior EPS/QEOD prizes (one for fundamental, one for applied aspects) awarded for outstanding contributions to quantum electronics and optics.

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 1986. He was 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 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 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.

Victor Malka has published about 340 articles and has been invited to more than 175 international conferences. He got 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.

The Fresnel Prizes:

These are the two EPS/QEOD Prizes awarded for outstanding contributions to quantum electronics and optics made by young scientists before the age of 35 (as of December 31st, 2017). There is one Prize for fundamental aspects and one for applied aspects.

2017 Fresnel Prize for Fundamental Aspects: Lu Chao-Yang

The 2017 Fresnel prize for fundamental aspects is awarded to Lu Chao-Yang, University of Science and Technology of China, Shanghai, China, for his outstanding achievement in quantum light sources, quantum teleportation and optical quantum computing.

Chao-Yang Lu was born in November 1982 in Zhejiang, China. He obtained his Bachelor's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2004, and obtained his PhD in Physics from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge in 2011. During his graduate studies under the supervision of Jian-Wei Pan and Mete Atatüre, he studied multi-photon entanglement and optically active quantum dots. He is currently a Professor of Physics at the University of Science and Technology of China, where he focuses on research on scalable quantum photonics, quantum computation, and quantum foundations.

2017 Fresnel Prize for Applied Aspects: Cédric Thaury

The 2017 Fresnel prize for applied aspects is awarded to Cédric Thaury, Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée (LOA, ENSTA-Ecole Polytechnique-CNRS), Palaiseau, France, for his outstanding contribution improving electron beam quality with a single laser pulse in laser plasma accelerators.

Cédric Thaury is a CNRS researcher at Laboratoire d’Optique Appliquée (LOA, ENSTA-Ecole Polytechnique-CNRS) in Palaiseau (France). He is also a part-time adjunct assistant professor at Ecole Polytechnique. His main research interests are laser-plasma interaction at high intensity and laser wake-field acceleration. He graduated from Institut d’Optique Graduate School in 2005 and obtained a Ph.D. from Paris-Sud University in 2008. He did his Ph.D. under the supervision of Fabien Quere at CEA Saclay, where he studied high order harmonic generation from plasma mirrors. He then moved to the Patrick Mora's group at Center for Theoretical Physics (CphT) at Ecole Polytechnique, where he investigated multi-dimensional effects occurring during the expansion of a plasma into a vacuum. Lastly, he joined in 2010 the Victor Malka’s group at LOA. Cedric Thaury authored 42 papers, held 2 patents and gave 15 invited talks. In 2009, he received the European Physical Society Plasma Physics Division PhD Research Award.

The EPS QEOD Thesis Prizes:

Since 2007 up to four EPS/QEOD Thesis prizes are also awarded to reward excellence in PhD research and scientific communication in the area of quantum electronics and optics relating to PhD thesis work submitted in the two years prior to the conference. These Prizes are awarded for fundamental and applied aspects.

The 2017 QEOD Thesis prize for fundamental aspects is awarded to Bas Jorrit Hensen, Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology, UNSW Sydney, Australia, for long-range entanglement of spins in diamond, unconditional quantum teleportation and the first loophole-free Bell test experiment, resulting in a significant rejection.

Bas Hensen (1986) attended Delft University of Technology for a BSc in physics. After finishing his undergraduate with a brief research project on in-situ annealing of graphene, he attended Cambridge University for a one year postgraduate course in applied mathematics, with a dual focus on quantum field theory and quantum information theory & computing, including an essay on the emergence of the classical world from a quantum reality. Coming back to Delft for an MSc in applied physics, he joined the group of Prof. Ronald Hanson to investigate protocols for long range entanglement between spins in diamond. Building on his results, he stayed on as a PhD student to experimentally realize such entanglement between electron spins in diamonds several meters apart, implement unconditional quantum teleportation, and lead the implementation of a loophole-free Bell test using spins in diamonds separated by three kilometres. Bas is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology, UNSW Sydney Australia. Moving from quantum optics to quantum electronics, he is currently investigating coupling of electron spins in silicon quantum dots.

The 2017 QEOD Thesis prize for fundamental aspects is awarded to Marissa Giustina, Univeristy of Vienna, Vienna ; Insitute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna, Austria for the implementation of a loophole-free test of Bell’s inequalities using entangled photons, with an exceptionally high experimental and statistical accuracy.

Marissa Giustina completed a Master's in Engineering Sciences at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Her PhD in Physics was completed under Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna. Her PhD research focused on closing loopholes in photonic tests of Bell inequalities, culminating in a test free of significant loopholes that boasts an exceptionally strong statistical claim. Currently, she works under John Martinis as a quantum electronics engineer in Google's Quantum A.I. Lab.

The 2017 QEOD Thesis prize for applied aspects is awarded to
Achim Woessner,
ICFO, The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain, for graphene plasmons detected electrically and used to build ultra-compact modulators for the first time enabling applications in biosensing and mid-infrared integrated optics.

Achim Woessner is currently a postdoctoral researcher at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain. His research interests include graphene plasmonics and optoelectronics. He obtained his PhD under the supervision of Frank Koppens at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences in May 2017. His thesis is entitled “Exploring Flatland Nano-Optics with Graphene Plasmons”. He obtained his Master in Photonics from the joined European Europhotonics program and his Bachelor from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

The 2017 QEOD Thesis prize for applied aspects is awarded to Gustavo Villares, IBM Research GmbH, Zurich Laboratory, Rüschlikon, Switzerland, for his contributions to the invention of the quantum cascade laser frequency comb and its application to chip-based mid-infrared dual-comb spectroscopy.

Gustavo Villares is currently a postdoctoral research with IBM Research - Zurich Laboratory. His research focuses on hybrid III-V on silicon optoelectronic devices for integrated photonics solutions in the areas of optical communications and neuromorphic computing. He obtained hi PhD under the supervision of Prof. Jerome Faist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, where he worked on developing quantum cascade laser frequency combs for dual-comb spectroscopy. He holds a M.Sc. in Physics from ESPCI Paris Tech, and a M.Sc. in Optics and Photonics from the Institut d'Optique Graduate School Paris Tech, France.


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