Nobel Prize Laureate
Prof. Serge Haroche
Ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems
ELI Beamlines, Dolní Břežany
June 22, 2018
Serge Haroche worked in the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) as a research scientist from 1967 to 1975, and spent a year (1972–1973) as a visiting post-doc in Stanford University, in Arthur Leonard Schawlow's team. In 1975 he moved to a professor position at Paris VI University. At the same time he taught in other institutions, in particular at the École polytechnique (1973–1984), MIT (1980), Harvard University (1981), Yale University (1984–1993) and Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (2000). He was head of the Physics department at the École normale supérieure from 1994 to 2000.
Since 2001, Haroche has been a Professor at the Collège de France and holds the Chair of Quantum Physics. He is a member of the Société Française de Physique, the European Physical society and a fellow and member of the American Physical Society.
In September 2012, Serge Haroche was elected by his peers to the position of administrator of the Collège de France.
On 9 October 2012 Haroche was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, together with the American physicist David Wineland, for their work regarding measurement and manipulation of individual quantum systems.
Haroche works primarily in atomic physics and quantum optics. He is principally known for proving quantum decoherence by experimental observation, while working with colleagues at the École normale supérieure in Paris in 1996.
After a PhD dissertation on dressed atoms under the supervision of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (himself a Nobel Prize recipient) from 1967 to 1971, he developed new methods for laser spectroscopy, based on the study of quantum beats and superradiance. He then moved on to Rydberg atoms, giant atomic states particularly sensitive to microwaves, which makes them well adapted for studying the interactions between light and matter. He showed that such atoms, coupled to a superconducting cavity containing a few photons, are well-suited to the testing of quantum decoherence and to the realization of quantum logic operations necessary for the treatment of quantum information.