EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications


The European Physical Society (EPS) Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications is a major prize awarded on behalf of the European Physical Society through its Quantum Electronics & Optics Division (QEOD). The prize is awarded every 2 years in recognition of recent work by one or more individuals (no more than three) for scientific excellence in the area of laser science and applications in its broadest sense.  Relevant topics include laser source development, power-scaling concepts, pump source development, nonlinear optics, ultrafast sources, material science, spectroscopic and characterisation techniques, and applications both in optics and photonics as well as in other fields.

The work for which the individual(s) is/are nominated must be such that a significant component of it was performed during the period 5 years prior to the award. In addition, the award will recognise research for which a significant portion of the work was carried out in Europe or in cooperation with European researchers, and may be given for either pure or applied research.

Nomination packets must include:

  • A cover letter provided by the nominator with proposed citation;
  • A two-page summary of the significance of the work which is the subject of the nomination. For a nominated team of more than one person, the summary should clearly specify the individual contribution of each nominee, and when and where the work has been performed.
  • Nominee CV(s)
  • A list of publications covering the last five years (a few earlier articles particularly relevant for the nomination can also be included).  Five articles of most significance should be highlighted.
  • Up to 3 letters of endorsement of the nomination.

All material must be prepared in English and combined into either a single consolidated PDF file or a ZIP archive.

The deadline to receive the nominations is Thursday 2 June 2022.  Submit the nomination.

The winner will be announced in June. The 2022 EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications will be remitted during Europhoton 2022. The Prize Ceremony and Lecture will be highlights of the EPS Europhoton Conference on “Solid-State, Fibre and Waveguide Coherent Light Sources” to be held in Hannover, Germany, between 28th August and 2th September 2022.

Additional Information and Rules:
The award will be accompanied by an engraved glass medal, certificate, and a monetary sum set at 2000 euros.

The prize jury shall consist of eight eminent researchers selected from amongst the QEOD board and current or past members of the Programme Committee of the Europhoton Conference. The President of the EPS will also serve on the prize jury. Final confirmation of the prize award will be made by the EPS Executive Committee and no communication of the award to nominees will be made before the Executive Committee approval.

These conditions can be modified by the European Physical Society QEOD Board and/or the European Physical Society Executive Committee.

For additional information, view the EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics Division website


Prof. Sergey I. Bozhevolnyi, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark has been elected the winner of the 2020 EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications for his “seminal contributions to surface-plasmon polaritons and the developments of plasmonic metasurfaces”. 

The 2020 EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications, announced at the 2021 CLEO/Europe-EQEC conference, will be remitted at the 2022 Europhoton conference together with a lecture by Professor Bozhevolnyi.

Other past recipients:

The 2018 EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications, remitted at the 2018 Europhoton conference held in Barcelona, Spain, was awarded to Prof. R.J. Dwayne Miller,  MPI for the Structure, and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg, Germany, for his achieving the fundamental limit to minimally invasive surgery with complete biodiagnostics for surgical guidance.

R. J. Dwayne Miller has published over 200 research articles, one book, and several reviews. He has pioneered the development of both coherent multidimensional spectroscopy methods, associated ultrafast laser technology, and introduced the  concept of using ultrabright electron sources to probe structural dynamics.  The electron sources developed by his group are sufficiently bright to literally light up atomic motions in real time. He and his group were the first to capture atomic motions during the defining moments of chemistry – to directly observe the very essence of chemistry. This work accomplished one of the dream experiments in science, to bring the chemists’ collective gedanken experiment of chemistry to direct observation.  As a testimony to the importance of basic research, this work provided new insight into strongly driven phase transitions that led to the ultimate limit in minimally invasive laser surgery with intact molecular signatures for guidance, and scar free healing.

His research accomplishments have been recognized with an A.P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Presidential Young Investigator Award (USA), Polanyi Award, Rutherford Medal in Chemistry, the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) Medal, and numerous named lectureships.  He was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Fellow of the CIC, Fellow of the Optical Society of America, and distinguished University Professor at the University of Toronto.  He recently received the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy, conferred by the American Chemical Society (2015), the Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry (2016), and Doctorate of Science Degree (honoris causa) from the University of Waterloo (2017).  He is also a strong advocate for science promotion earning the McNeil Medal from the Royal Society of Canada (2011) for founding Science Rendezvous, which is the largest celebration of science (geographically at least) with over 300 events all across Canada with new initiatives in the North, aimed to make science accessible to the general public with over 250,000 attendees annually, made possible by >6000 volunteers/researchers.


The 2016 EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications, remitted at the 2016 Europhoton conference held in Vienna, Austria, was awarded to Prof. Reinhard Kienberger for his seminal contributions to establishing the basic techniques for attosecond science with laser-based as well as accelerator-based sources.

Reinhard Kienberger obtained his Ph.D. in quantum optics at the Vienna University of Technology (Austria) in 2002 on sub-femtosecond pulse generation and measurement in the XUV regime. He spent a year at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Menlo Park, CA, USA, to develop a measurement system for sub-picosecond pulses in the hard x-ray regime bringing together know-how in ultrashort pulse generation and measurement spanning the whole high photon energy range. From 2007, he was leader of an independent Junior Research Group at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching/Munich, Germany. Reinhard Kienberger was awarded the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for top science in Germany in 2006 and a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) in 2008. In the same year, he was appointed professor for experimental physics at the Technical University of Munich, where he became full professor and head of the Chair for Laser and X-ray Science in 2013. In 2015 he received an ERC Consolidator Grant. He was also awarded the ICO Prize of the International Commission for Optics, the Ernst Abbe Medal of the Carl Zeiss Foundation and he is Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. Kienberger has made seminal contributions to the development of attosecond pulse generation and of methods for their characterization. He has been investigating ultrafast electron dynamics in atoms molecules and solids with attosecond techniques.


The first 2014 EPS-QEOD Prize for Research in Laser Science and Applications, remitted at the 2014 Europhoton conference held in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, was awarded to Dr. Thomas Udem, research associate at Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Garching, Germany.

The Prize was awarded to Thomas Udem for significant contributions to the development of optical frequency combs and their extension into the vacuum-ultra-violet region, as well as the realization of applications in astronomy, metrology and ultra-precise fast sensitive spectroscopy.

High precision spectroscopy of hydrogen constitutes a very precise test of Quantum Electrodynamics, which is one of the most accurate theories among all fields of physics. To further increase the measuring accuracy, Thomas Udem and his team devised the so-called frequency comb technique at the end of the nineties. This technique allows to directly counting the oscillations of the optical wave of a laser that is used to interrogate the energy levels of the hydrogen atom. Other atoms and ions can be investigated with this technique, for example to set up an all-optical atomic clock. Currently Thomas Udem is working on extending the frequency combs to much shorter wavelengths by employing the process of high-order harmonic generation. By means of this technique, more sensitive tests on hydrogen-like ions could be conducted. Another project aims at precisely calibrating astronomical instruments, in order to detect extra solar planets and eventually probe the proclaimed acceleration of the cosmic expansion in real time. Thomas Udem studied physics at the University of Giessen (Germany) and at the University of Washington in Seattle (USA). After his diploma in 1993, he joined the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics at Garching (Germany). In 1997 he received his PhD from the University of Munich for developing new methods of absolute optical frequency measurements including the optical frequency comb. As a postdoc he worked on refining the frequency comb technology by introducing the self- referencing technique and applied it to measure transition frequencies in atomic hydrogen. After another postdoc at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder (USA), he returned to Garching and became research associate there. Since then, he has been working on high precision metrology on hydrogen-like systems, ion traps and astronomical frequency combs.


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