Anne L’Huillier (Lund University)

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Anne L’Huillier - Professor of Atomic Physics and 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics - received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa on the 28th March 2024.

Photo : Anne L'Huillier, Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 © Lund University
Anne L'Huillier, Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 © Lund University

Anne L'Huillier is a Franco-Swedish researcher born in 1958. After enrolling at the École normale supérieure in Fontenay aux Roses in 1977, she obtained the agrégation in mathematics in 1980. Her research work on the physics of atoms in intense laser fields began in the group led by Gérard Mainfray and Claude Manus at the CEA in Saclay.

In 1986, she defended her thesis at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie and obtained a permanent position at the CEA the same year. She then moved on to the Göteborg Institute of Technology in 1986, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1988 and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1993. In 1995, she became Associate Professor at Lund University, then Professor of Atomic Physics in 1997.

Research, collaboration, distinctions

Anne L'Huillier's research focuses on the interactions between atoms and intense laser light. Her discovery of the process of generating high-order harmonics enabled the production of an extended frequency comb in the far ultraviolet. This radiation consists, in the temporal domain, of a train of attosecond pulses. This gave rise to a new thematic area in which she made major experimental and theoretical contributions to understanding and controlling this attosecond radiation. Anne L'Huillier has identified the possibility of using this radiation to produce attosecond pulses capable of probing ultrafast electronic dynamics in atoms and matter. Her research group has developed applications such as measuring ionisation times in atomic systems. She is now exploring other fields of application, whether fundamental by revisiting quantum optics, or of interest to the semiconductor industry.

Anne L'Huillier has published nearly 230 articles and supervised the work of 27 doctoral students and 32 post-doctoral fellows, a significant number of whom are currently pursuing academic careers, some at the University of Bordeaux.

Anne L'Huillier's work has been recognised by numerous scientific awards, starting with the Aimé Cotton Prize from the French Physics Society in 1990. In 2011, she was awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO prize for women in science. In 2004, she was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in physics and was a member of the Nobel Committee in physics for the 2007-2015 period.
She was elected a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences in 2021. In 2022, together with Paul Corkum and Ferenc Krausz, she was presented with the Wolf Prize in Physics.
In 2023, Anne L'Huillier was awarded the Nobel Prize jointly with Pierre Agostini and Ferenc Krausz "for experimental methods that produce attosecond light pulses for the study of electron dynamics in matter". She was the second French woman (after Marie Curie in 1903) and the fifth in the world to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The DHC for Prof. l'Huillier was proposed by Éric Mével, Professor of Physics at the University of Bordeaux, director of the Centre Lasers Intenses et Applications (CELIA - CEA, CNRS and the University of Bordeaux) and Philippe Balcou, research director at the CNRS and member of the Centre Lasers Intenses et Applications (CELIA - CEA, CNRS and the University of Bordeaux).