Quantum optics takes the prize

9 October 2012

This year’s Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to Professors Serge Haroche from the Collège de France and David J Wineland from the University of Colorado for their work in a field called quantum optics.

Photon detector

The award recognises advances in our understanding of the fundamental interaction between photons (particles of light) and matter.

In response to the announcement, Professor Sir Peter Knight, a colleague in the same field as Serge Haroche and David Wineland and President of the Institute of Physics, said, "Haroche and Wineland have made tremendous advances in our understanding of quantum entanglement, with beautiful experiments to show how atomic systems can be manipulated to exhibit the most extraordinary coherence properties; Haroche working with cavity quantum electrodynamics and Wineland with trapped ions.

“Their work demonstrates very fundamental behaviour of quantum systems under complete control, and underpins quantum technologies relevant to quantum computing and atomic clocks."