October 4, 2005

American Physical Society Fellows Share in 2005 Physics Nobel

All three 2005 Physics Nobel laureates’ prize winning work linked to landmark papers published in APS Physical Review journals.

APS fellows Roy J. Glauber (Harvard) and John L Hall (NIST/University of Colorado) shared the 2005 Nobel Prize for Physics with Theodor W. Hänsch (Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik).

Glauber will receive half of the 10M Swedish Kroner (~$1.3M) prize, while Hall and Hänsch will each collect a quarter of the prize.

The Nobel committee recognized Glauber for "his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence." Glauber laid the foundations of quantum optics, showing how the powerful tools of quantum mechanics could be applied to optics. Previously, optics had relied on classical physics, which treated light exclusively as though it were wave-like. Glauber’s work in the 1960’s addressed the fact the particle nature of light was becoming more apparent with the development of lasers.

The committee cited Hall and Hänsch for “their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique." Their work led to methods for measuring frequencies to one part in a hundred trillion (a precision of fifteen decimal places). The advance resulted in highly accurate clocks and measurement standards.

Many of the laureates’ most significant papers were published in APS journals. Papers particularly relevant to this year’s prize include:

  • Roy J. Glauber, Phys. Rev 130, 2529-2539 (1963), “The Quantum Theory of Optical Coherence” [PDF version]
  • Jun Ye, Tai Hyun Yoon, and John L. Hall, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 3797-3800 (2000) “Accuracy Comparison of Absolute Optical Frequency Measurement between Harmonic-Generation Synthesis and a Frequency-Division Femtosecond Comb” [PDF version]
  • Th. Udem, J. Reichert, R. Holzwarth, and T. W. Hänsch, Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 3568-3571 (1999), “ Absolute Optical Frequency Measurement of the Cesium D1 Line with a Mode-Locked Laser” [PDF version]

Marvin Cohen, president of the APS, and Martin Blume, APS Editor in Chief, extended their congratulations to professors Glauber, Hill, and Hänsch on behalf of the society.

“The APS has long been aware of the stature of these three, great physicists. In fact we have recognized all three of them in the past with APS prizes.” said Cohen. “We presented Glauber with the Heineman Prize in 1996, Hänsch won the Schawlow Prize in 1996 and Broida Prize in 1986, and Hall won the Schawlow in 1993 and Davisson-Germer Prize in 1988.”

“We are particularly pleased,” added Blume, “that the principal papers for which the prize was given were published in the APS journals Physical Review and Physical Review Letters.”

Further Information from the Nobel Prize Committee:

Early Papers Leading to the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics:

Glauber published the first of his papers on Quantum Optics in PRL in February of 1963.
R. J. Glauber, Phys. Rev. Lett. 10, 84 (1963) [PDF version]  

He followed it up with a Physical Review paper in June.
R. J. Glauber, Phys. Rev. 131, 2766 (1963) [PDF version

And another in September 1963.
R. J. Glauber, Phys. Rev. 140, B676 (1963) [PDF version

A 1978 PRL was the starting point in the development of frequency combs.
J.N. Eckstein, A.I. Ferguson and T.W. Haensch, Phys. Rev. Lett. 40, 847 (1978) [PDF version

Hall and collaborators were the first to demonstrate the frequency comb technique.
D.J. Jones, S.A. Diddams, J.K. Ranka, A. Stentz, R.S. Windeler, J.L. Hall, and S.T. Cundiff, Science 288, 635 (28 April 2000)

They were closely followed by Haensch and collaborators.
R. Holzwarth, Th. Udem, T.W. Haensch, J.C. Knight, W.J. Wadsworth, and P.St.J. Russel, Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 2264 (11 September 2000). [PDF version

In a joint publication, the Hall and Haensch groups applied the comb technique to directly measure the frequency of a Nd:YAG laser against the cesium clock.
S.A. Diddams, D.J. Jones, J. Ye, S.T. Cundiff, J.L. Hall, J.K. Ranka, R.S. Windeler, R. Holzwarth, Th. Udem and T.W. Haensch, Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 5102 (2000) [PDF version]

Physical Review Focus story on the May 2000 light comb PRL, published jointly by Hall's and Hänsch 's research groups (see above for a PDF of the paper by S.A. Diddams et al.)

Counting the Ripples in a Light Wave

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