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January 2015 Number 102

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2014 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics

Albert Schliesser, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University, Denmark


Albert Schliesser is a Research Assistant Professor at the QUANTOP Center of the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen University, Denmark. He obtained his MSc (Physik-Diplom) from the Technische Universität München, and his PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in physics from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. His PhD advisor was T W Hänsch. After a Postdoctoral position as Research Assistant for the Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurement of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), he joined the Niels Bohr Institute. He has been awarded the 2014 IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics “for his outstanding contributions to photonics and optomechanics, in particular by developing a micro-frequency comb and a radio-to-optical mechanical transducer." 

Since his graduate studies, Dr Schliesser has pursued research in optics at its intersections with other physics disciplines such as nanomechanics. In the Laser Spectroscopy division of the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics he worked on novel spectroscopic techniques based on laser frequency combs and on their applications in sensing and microscopy. One remarkable outcome of this research has been the discovery that frequency combs can be generated in optical microresonators via nonlinear optical processes (P Del’Haye et al, Nature 450, 1214, 2007). Only one cw laser source is necessary to generate a large number of optical sidebands with exactly defined frequency spacing. Such “micro-comb” generators could find applications in trace gas sensing, astronomical spectrograph calibration, arbitrary waveform generation and telecommunications. The technique has been patent-protected and is being explored for commercial use. It is also widely studied in research laboratories, in particular its extension to new spectral domains such as the mid-infrared(A. Schliesser, N. PIcque, T. W. Hänsch, Nature Phot 6, 440, 2012).

Dr Schliesser has also investigated the coupling of optical fields to micro- and nanomechanical oscillators. His work led to the observation of radiation-pressure induced laser cooling of mechanical modes (A. Schliesser, P. Del'Haye, N. Nooshi, K. J. Vahala, T. Kippenberg, Phys Rev Lett 97, 243905,2006), and to the first demonstration of cooling in the resolved-sideband regime(A. Schliesser, R. Rivière, G. Anetsberger, O. Arcizet, T. J. Kippenberg, Nat Phys 4, 415, 2008 ). Later he guided the team that first observed the effect of optomechanically induced transparency (S. Weis et al., Science 330, 1520, 2010). With his colleagues, he also showed that optomechanical coupling can be made stronger than the decoherence rates of the mechanical and optical degrees of freedom (E. Verhagen, S. Deleglise, S. Weis, A. Schliesser, T. J. Kippenberg, Nature 482, 63,2012).

In his present position he leads a small team geared toward experiments in optomechanics. This team, in collaboration within QUANTOP, the Danish Technical University, and Maryland’s Joint Quantum Institute, has demonstrated a proof-of-principle transducer of radio-frequency signals to the optical domain via a nanomechanical device (T. Bagci et al., Nature 507, 81,2014). Such transducers enable optical measurements of RF and microwave signals and could deliver a significant boost of the sensitivity with which such measurements can be made, potentially down to the quantum level.

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International Commission for Optics

Bureau members (2011-2014):

President: Y. Arakawa;

Past-President: D. T. MooreTreasurer: J A Harrington;

Secretary: A M Guzmán, CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, PO Box 162700, 4000 Central Florida Blvd,Orlando, FL 32816-2700, USA; e-mail

Associate Secretary: G von Bally

Vice-Presidents, elected: J. Harvey, F. Höller, H. Michinel, J. Niemela, R. Ramponi, S-H Park, J. Zakrzewski, M. Zghal

Vice-Presidents, appointed: Y. J. Ding, J. C. Howell, S. Morgan, E. Rosas, P. Urbach, A Wagué, M. J. Yzuel

IUPAP Council Representative: C Cisneros

Editor in chief: A M Guzmán

Editorial committee:
K Baldwin, Australian National University, Australia;
J Dudley, Université de Franche-Comté, France;
William T Rhodes, Florida Atlantic University, USA.