Professor at Lund University Wins Nobel Prize in Physics

Published October 3rd, 2023. Text by Edith Malmberg, SIREUS

Anne L'Huillier, Professor of Atomic Physics at Lund University, is one of this year's three laureates for the Nobel Prize in Physics

Anne L'Huillier is a French/Swedish physcist whose research is mainly centered around high-order harmonic generation in gases and its applications. Today while Anne L’Huillier was in the midst of delivering a lecture on atom physics to her students, her phone suddenly began to vibrate with notifications. She had received exhilarating news: she had been honored as one of the Nobel Laureates in Physics for the year 2023. The halls of Fysicum at Lund University soon filled with colleagues and students wanting to congratulate L'Huillier. “I was very concentrated, forgot about the Nobel Prize and tried to finish my lecture,” L’Huillier told the AP. Her research deals with attosecond source development and optimization as well as the use of this radiation for the study of ultrafast (electron) dynamics.

On October 3rd 2023 it was announced that Professor L'Huillier won the Nobel Prize along with French scientist Pierre Agostini and Hungarian-born Ferenc Krausz for studying how electrons zip around the atom in the tiniest fractions of seconds, a field that one day could lead to better electronics or disease diagnoses. Their groundbreaking research delved into the minuscule constituents of atoms- specifically the swiftly orbiting electrons, which form the foundational basis for an array of disciplines including chemistry, physics, biology, and modern technology.

New tools for exploring the movement of electrons inside atoms and molecules

The prize-awarding academy stated that the research conducted by this years laureates has provided humanity with innovative tools for investigating the motion of electrons within atoms and molecules- an intricate phenomenon previously believed to be beyond the bounds of traceability. "The ability to generate attosecond pulses of light has opened the door on a tiny, extremely tiny, time scale and it's also opened the door to the world of electrons," said Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel Prize in Physics Selection Committee. 

In 1987, Anne L’Huillier made a notable discovery within the realm of optical physics. She observed that the transmission of infrared laser light through a noble gas resulted in the generation of numerous distinct overtones of light. These overtones, characterized by specific cycles for each cycle in the laser light, manifested as additional light waves. Anne L’Huillier's pioneering work in this area not only revealed the existence of these overtones but also paved the way for further investigations and breakthroughs in the field of laser-induced electron excitation and subsequent emission of light. Her continued exploration of this intriguing phenomenon has contributed significantly to our understanding of the intricate interplay between light and matter at the atomic level, with far-reaching implications in various scientific disciplines.

The leading research environment at Lund University

Only the fifth woman to win a Nobel physics prize, French-born L'Huillier works at Lund University in Sweden. In 1995 she became an Associate Professor at Lund University and in 1997 she was appointed Professor of Physics. Today L'Huillier is part of NanoLund, a part of Lund University and a strategic research environment in Sweden. NanoLund's vision is to be a world-leading research center that uses the unique opportunities offered by nanoscience to advance fundamental science and address societal challenges. The scientific endeavors undertaken at NanoLund are greatly facilitated by two essential infrastructures, namely Lund Nano Lab and Lund Nano Characterization Labs. Lund Nano Lab, also known as Myfab Lund, stands as an open research facility accessible not only to academic research groups but also to start-ups and company users seeking to harness its resources and capabilities. Read more about NanoLund here.

Lund University is a member of the SIREUS project that unites 13 Swedish universities with the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce in the United States (SACC-USA). This initiative is built upon the solid foundation of SACC-USA's well-established bilateral business and talent network, and it strategically addresses specific needs that have been collectively identified through close cooperation with Swedish universities. SIREUS aims to facilitate the exchange of knowledge across the Atlantic Ocean. We want to provide our partner universities with valuable access to academic and research networks both in the United States and Sweden. This initiative serves as a catalyst for fostering Swedish-American collaboration, enabling the sharing of expertise, and establishing meaningful connections within the realms of academia and research. 

SIREUS congraulates Anne L'Huillier and the other laureates this year on their remarkable acheivements! 

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2023

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 to Pierre Agostini, of Ohio State University, Columbus, USA, Ferenc Krausz, from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in  München, Germany and Anne L’Huillier, Professor at Lund University, Sweden. 
About Anne L'Huillier
​​​​​​​Appointed Professor of Physics at Lund University in 1997

Born: 1958 in Paris, France 

Education: L'Huillier wrote her thesis on multiple multiphoton ionizationn in1986, at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris and Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA). 

More about the SIREUS Project

​​​​​​​SIREUS, a collaboration between The Swedish American Chambers of Commerce (SACC-USA) and 13 Swedish universities, focuses on knowledge exchange in innovation, science, and entrepreneurship, as well as talent mobility for students and researchers between Sweden and the U.S. 
The Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C., and the Swedish Institute support the project through advice and contacts.   

Facilitating research collaboration and exchange between Sweden and the U.S.

​​​​​​​One of SIREUS' aims is to facilitate research collaboration and researcher exchange between Sweden and the U.S. Together with its 13 Swedish Member Universities, SIREUS has identified five thematic areas of research, each of which contains sub-themes within its field.