An extensive research community has been set up in recent years on the Campus Orsay-Palaiseau-Saclay, through the process initiated in 2007 by the Triangle de la Physique network, and recently strengthened by the creation of Labexes (Laboratoires d'excellence [Excellence Laboratories)], including, in particular, PALM (Physics Atom Light Matter) and Nano-Saclay.

In this context, the Physics of Light and Matter (PHOM) Department adds to this process to bring together, in a strong and visible community, researchers concerned with the physics and engineering of diluted, ionised and condensed environments, while maintaining and developing links between basic and applied research.

These links are already present in laboratories, and in the Triangle de la Physique and Labex networks. The PHOM Department will seek to enrich these networks by encouraging exchanges in basic research and applied problems or social issues that foster technological innovation and development.

The Department will be both an important organisation centre for the research community and a place for reflection and strategic proposals :

  • A meeting point for laboratories from different institutions, with their many complementary subjects and approaches, the Department will promote joint reflection, particularly on emerging issues.
  • Merging Physics with many of its interfacing disciplines (Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Computer and Digital Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, etc.), by creating opportunities for interdisciplinary exchanges, appropriate for project development.
  • Improving the positioning of very large projects, and where appropriate, considering the possibility of their implementation at the Plateau.
  • During calls for projects and various incentives launched by Idex, the PHOM Department will endeavour to establish, within the communities it represents, a consultative process for proposal harmonisation.
  • Supplementing major scientific instruments and very high level platforms already present on campus (SOLEIL Synchrotron, LLB [Laboratoire Léon Brillouin], power lasers, electron microscopes, etc.), several Equipex projects will lead to the construction of major new facilities on the Saclay Campus (CILEX, Extreme Light Multi-disciplinary Centre, ATTOLAB [Equipment of Excellence], TEMPOS, Transmission Electron Microscopy at Palaiseau Orsay Saclay, etc.). The Department will contribute to the development strategy for this large-scale equipment and the structure of the scientific community in order to optimise their use.

Community research activities in the department can be divided into seven scientific axiss and several important interfaces:

  • Axis 1 - Coherence and quantum correlations
  • Axis 2 - Diluted or ionised matter: plasma atom and molecule
  • Axis 3 - Complex matter: disordered systems and dynamic effects, biophysics
  • Axis 4 - Extreme light (intense lasers, ultrafast sources, laser-matter interaction and secondary sources)
  • Axis 5 - Nanophysics (nanoelectronics, nanomagnetism and nanophotonics)
  • Axis 6 - Optics, biophotonics, imaging, microscopy and sensors
  • Axis 7 - Materials: preparation and properties

The laboratories in the PHOM Department already have solid and regular interactions in relation to the main fields in the following departments:

  • Electrical and optical engineering (EOE)
  • P2IO
  • Chemistry
  • Mechanics, Energy and Processes (MEP)
  • Life Sciences (LS)

Work will be conducted with interfaces between disciplines, in particular, by inviting members of other departments to the centre offices. Interfaces are not fixed, but developed based on these interactions. Interfaces with Mathematics, ICSTs, Geosciences (TOAP, Earth, Ocean, Atmospheres, Planets), and Human and Social Sciences must also be considered. Thinking on common strategies, already underway in some cases, will be developed and intensified.