Thomas Ebbesen Gives Kavli Prize Laureate Lecture December 9 in Paris

(Modified from an announcement by the French Academy of Sciences)

On December 9 in Paris, Thomas Ebbesen will give a Kavli Prize Laureate Lecture titled "Lights, metal and tiny holes / De la lumière, du métal et de tout petits trous."

The event will take place at the French Academy of Sciences at 16:00.

Ebbesen, who is a Professor at the University of Strasbourg, is one of this year's recipients of the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience, which he received "for the discovery of the extraordinary transmission of light through sub-wavelength apertures." Ebbesen shared the prize with Stefan Hell and Sir John Pendry.

This special presentation is a collaboration between the French Academy of Sciences and The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Short presentation of Thomas W. Ebbesen and his work:

Thomas Ebbesen was recognized with The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience "for the discovery of the extraordinary transmission of light through sub-wavelength apertures."

From the committee's citation:

Common wisdom tells us that objects cannot pass through openings which are much smaller than themselves. In fact, since the 1940s, the definitive reference for the behaviour of light transmitted through small holes in a metal sheet was Bethe's work, which predicted that the light intensity would fall off dramatically as the radius of the hole diminished substantially below the wavelength of light. This limitation poses a real challenge to optics and imaging at very small dimensions. Ebbesen has shown that, on the contrary, there can be an extraordinary transmission of light through nano-fabricated holes in thin metal films. The sizes of those holes are far smaller than the wavelength of the light itself.

His experiments in 1998 yielded results that thus challenged all prior accepted theories of light propagation through small holes. The underlying reasons have to do with efficient re-radiation made possible through plasmons -- a cooperative oscillation of electrons, particularly intense in nanoscale structures. Ebbesen's understanding of the basic mechanism, and his implementation of different structures to enhance the focus, direction, and general control of the plasmonic enhancement have led to new means of increasing the efficiency, spatial focus of photonic devices, and sensitivity of optical sensors.