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Benoît Deveaud wins 2019 Charpak-Ritz Prize

Vice-Provost for Research at École Polytechnique, Benoît Deveaud, was recently awarded the Charpak-Ritz Prize for 2019.

The prize, presented jointly by the French Physics Society and the Swiss Physics Society, recognizes exceptional contributions to physics. The title of the award honors French and Swiss physicists Georges Charpak and Walther Ritz, who shaped their field of study.

As a specialist in optical spectroscopy of semiconductors, Benoît Deveaud’s research has focused particularly on the physics of ultrafast optical processes in semiconductor nanostructures.

His doctoral thesis investigated the properties of chrome as a deep center in III-V semiconductors. After completing his postdoctoral research at Bell Labs from 1986 to 1987, Benoît Deveaud went on to work at the French National Center for Telecommunication Studies (CNET) from 1987 to 1993. During this time, he helped develop the first luminescence experiment with a temporal resolution better than one picosecond (300 femtoseconds). He also studied phenomena of considerable interest in micro- and nanostructures, such as electron capture in quantum wells, vertical transport in superlattices, and the radiative behavior of excitons or plasmas in quantum wells.

Benoît Deveaud spent 25 years at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where he headed the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (Institut de photonique et électronique quantique) and expanded his team’s skills in coherent optical spectroscopy through the development of an actively stabilized set of interferometers. The completion of coherent control experiments on polaritons in a parametric amplification configuration, and the demonstration of the coherent nature of Rayleigh scattering in relation to the exciting laser phase were the first steps on the path to a fundamental understanding of the physics of semiconductor microcavities, and in particular their dynamics in the nonlinear regime.

This extensive expertise was essential to Benoît Deveaud’s team as part of an international collaboration, dedicated to the first-ever testing and evaluation of Bose-Einstein condensation of solid-state polaritons. Following this initial publication, the team documented, in polariton condensates, the observation of vortexes and half-vortexes, Josephson oscillations, and dark solitons; the dissociation of a polariton superfluid in vortex-antivortex pairs; and, finally, a polaritonic Feshbach resonance.

Benoît Deveaud has been Vice-Provost of École Polytechnique since April 2017, where he is responsible for its entire Research Center, in coordination with its various partners. He also heads the Scientific Board of Institut Polytechnique de Paris, a five-partner cluster institution comprising École Polytechnique, ENSAE, ENSTA, Télécom Paris and Télécom Sud-Paris.