Nathalie Picqué accepts dual appointment in Berlin

The experimental physicist joins the Max Born Institute as a new Director and has accepted a chair at Humboldt University of Berlin.

Nathalie Picqué, a pioneer in dual-comb spectroscopy, has commenced a director position at the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) in Berlin, where she will establish the Division of Precision Physics. In addition, the researcher has accepted a tenured professorship at Humboldt University. Nathalie Picqué previously worked for over a decade as a research group leader in the Laser Spectroscopy Division led by Nobel laureate Theodor Hänsch at MPQ.

“It has been an immense privilege to work during all these years at MPQ. I have learnt a lot; I have benefitted from an exceptionally stimulating environment. I am grateful and indebted to all the MPQ members I have been interacting with for their friendly and efficient collaboration,” comments Nathalie Picqué.

Nathalie Picqué’s research interests span optics and molecular physics, with a particular focus on interferometry, precision spectroscopy and laser technology. Exploring new ideas involving laser frequency combs, she has pioneered ways in which to apply these novel concepts to metrology, molecular spectroscopy, holography and chip-scale sensing. Her research on dual-comb spectroscopy has led to ground-breaking results, such as the development of a new method for digital holography, and her state-of-the-art research on ultraviolet spectroscopy was recently published in Nature.

As a newly appointed Director at the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, Nathalie Picqué will establish the new Division of Precision Physics. Specifically, her research will focus on further advancing laser frequency comb and dual-comb technology, and on searching for new physics by pushing the limits of precision laser spectroscopy of simple molecules. Besides her research at the Max Born Institute, Dr Nathalie Picqué is looking forward to her new teaching responsibilities as a professor at Humboldt University of Berlin.

“I am thrilled by the extraordinary conditions that MBI has offered to me, which make it possible to strengthen my existing projects, to start exploring new ideas and to appoint a team of students and post-docs who will tackle new challenges.  I also look forward to collaborations with the scientists of MBI for the emergence of new research topics”, adds Nathalie Picqué.

Before joining the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in 2008, Dr Nathalie Picqué worked at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Orsay, France). She is the recipient of several prestigious research awards, including the William J. Meggers Award from OPTICA (2024), the Cécile DeWitt-Morette Prize of the French Academy of Sciences (2023), and the Gentner-Kastler Prize in Physics (2022). Additionally, she was also the first female researcher in Germany to receive an Advanced Grant in atomic, molecular and optical physics from the European Research Council.

“I still have exciting projects which involve a collaboration with the Division of Prof. Hänsch, so I feel lucky that I will have the opportunity to visit MPQ in the coming years and I will enjoy every minute I will spend here.”

The Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics warmly congratulates Nathalie Picqué on her new position and looks forward to future collaborations.


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