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Labex PALM - Physics : atom, light, matter

Laboratoire d'excellence (labex)   / Laboratoire d'excellence (labex) Article published on 10 January 2020 , Updated on 18 May 2020

Fundamental and applied physics (condensed matter, atomic and molecular physics, optics, lasers and extreme light).

Logo labex PALM

A research centre in fundamental and applied physics

PALM is an initiative of the community of scientists at Campus Paris-Saclay working on a wide range of subjects in fundamental and applied physics:

  • condensed matter ;
  • atomic and molecular physics ;
  • optics, lasers and extreme light ;
  • statistical physics and physical chemistry.

This community is internationally recognised and has local access to a unique set of equipment in France and at the highest international level.

PALM will extend its scope to education, training and innovation.

PALM will have a decisive effect on a number of objectives :

  • Education : it will support cross-disciplinary actions to develop interactions between communities in different fields, and interfaces with other disciplines.
  • Training : it will promote the joining of research and education, and will undertake actions to improve the appeal of the campus, especially for foreign students.
  • Innovation : it will prioritise collaboration and technology transfer with companies, particularly by increasing spin-offs and creating start-ups.

Ambition : three priority themes to be at the forefront of international research

Initially, the PALM LabEx will investigate essential features in the quantum world: entanglement and quantum correlations. From quantum cryptography to electrons in high Tc superconductors, this field has been growing for a decade with the interface between optical quantum physics and condensed matter, and it has now reached a level of maturity to enable decisive collaborations between scientists from these two communities.

The slow and emergent dynamic in non-equilibrium systems will be the second priority theme of LabEx research. It brings together experimenters, theorists and numerical analysts working on different objects (glasses, granular materials, fluid turbulence, soft matter, and even algorithmic matter), who are faced with the same challenge: understanding the emergence of very long time-scales and associated structures.

Finally, the third research theme is related to ultrafast processes and their consequences, disruption to electronic orbitals by molecular orbitals in chemical or biological reactions. It will promote collaborations between researchers working on new radiation sources, particularly ultrafast lasers, and physical chemistry themes that use these sources to study the response in diluted or condensed matter.

The three LabEx priority themes are at the forefront of international research in terms of advancing knowledge. They also carry important applications for society, from the development of quantum computers to climate dynamics, photochemistry of the atmosphere and the development of new cancer therapies using laser-accelerated protons or electrons.

PALM is involved in the development of higher education in physics.

The PALM LabEx brings together more than 700 physicist-chemists on the Campus Paris-Saclay, and aims to be a key player as regards the development of higher education in the next decade in physics, at Masters and PhD levels. LabEx scientists, working and teaching in different higher education institutions, Université Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique, IOGS and ENS Paris-Saclay, intend to work on building this future, taking advantage of the high quality of physics research teams and students on campus. The aim is to improve the appeal of our campus, especially for international students, and to bring together research and higher education.

In the long term, the performance of PALM will help in the development of scientific knowledge and the creation of new technologies. The LabEx will concentrate its innovation budget on support for technology transfers in the field of advanced instrumentation, for example, imaging, metrology, diagnosis and monitoring/control. These innovative assemblies developed in the laboratories are valuable by-products of research, which can be useful for other applications in academia and industry. The PALM LabEx Board of Innovation will select and guide the most promising projects in this category.