Aller au contenu principal

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics: two of the laureates began their work in attosecond science at CEA Saclay

Talents Article published on 03 October 2023 , Updated on 16 January 2024

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to the physicists Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier for their experimental methods that generate attosecond (one billionth of a billionth of a second) pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.

The three laureates are recognised for having “demonstrated a way to create extremely short pulses of light that can be used to measure the rapid processes in which electrons move or change energy”, said the 2023 Nobel committee for Physics. “The laureates’ contributions have enabled the investigation of processes that are so rapid they were previously impossible to follow.”

Pierre Agostini is French, he was a researcher at CEA Saclay from 1968 to 2002 and is currently an Emeritus Professor at Ohio State University (USA). Ferenc Krausz is an Hungarian-Austrian physicist, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching (Germany), and Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich) .

The Franco-Swedish physicist Anne L’Huillier was a researcher at the Service for the Physics of Atoms and Surfaces, today known as LIDYL, at CEA Saclay from 1982 to 1995. She is currently a Professor of Atomic Physics at Lund University (Sweden) – a member university of the EUGLOH Alliance*. She is also a member of the Governing Board at the Institut d’Optique Graduate School at Université Paris-Saclay. She also works closely with certain laboratories such as LIDYL. Convinced by her exemplary career and scientific achievements which have been recognised by numerous awards, Université Paris-Saclay decided six months ago to bestow her with the honorary title of Doctor Honoris Causa. Anne L’Huillier graciously accepted the university’s proposal, honouring the university’s academic community and in particular our colleagues and students working in Physics. She will be awarded the title on 13 November. 

Find out more about the latest research in attosecond science in n°19 of L’Édition of Université Paris-Saclay: "Attosecond science to define the infinitely short".

* The European University Alliance for Global Health (EUGLOH)

Université Paris-Saclay coordinates the European University Alliance for Global Health - EUGLOH, which brings together eight other universities:  Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Germany), Lund University (Sweden), University of Porto (Portugal), University of Szeged (Hungary), University of Alcalá (Spain), The Arctic University of Norway (Norway), University Novi Sad (Serbia) and University of Hamburg (Germany).

By building on the strengths of its teaching, excellent research and cutting-edge infrastructure, these universities hope to become one of the world’s leading higher education and research alliances. 

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to two pioneers in mRNA vaccines, and Professors at the University of Pennsylvania - the American Drew Weissman and the Hungarian Katalin Kariko, who received her PhD from the University of Szeged, also a EUGLOH member.