Professor Isabelle Ledoux-Rak has received this year’s Holweck Medal and Prize, which is annualy awarded jointly by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the French Physical Society.

The medal and prize have been presented to Prof. Ledoux-Rak on 16 September at the University of St Andrews, where she gave also the associated Holweck Lecture. The award has been made to Prof. Ledoux-Rak for her pioneering contributions to our understanding of the nonlinear optical properties of organic materials. She is director of the Quantum and Molecular Photonics Laboratory at the D'Alembert Institute of the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, and her current research is focused on molecular and supramolecular engineering of molecules and materials for photonic applications.


The Holweck Medal and Prize was instituted as a memorial to Fernand Holweck, director of the Curie Laboratory of the Radium Institute of Paris, who was tortured and killed by the Gestapo during the occupation of France in the Second World War. It is awarded in odd-dated years to a physicist based in France and presented in the UK or Ireland, and in even-dated years to a physicist based in the UK or Ireland and presented in France.



Professor Isabelle Ledoux-Rak 

Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris)  (1976-81)

Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications  (1981-83)

Ecole Normale Supérieure (Cachan) (1983-…).

Leaving ENS Paris, Isabelle was appointed in the “Centre National d’Etudes des Télécommu-nications” of Bagneux in 1983. She had spent for 15 years in this laboratory, her research focued on the non linear optical properties of organic materials, and especially the structure-properties relations in materials for frequency doubling and parametric amplification of femtosecond impulsions, in close collaboration with Joseph Ziss.

Then she moved in the « Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan », and J. Zyss and her contributed to found the « Laboratoire de Photonique Quantique et Moléculaire » (LPQM UMR 8537). Isabelle became a Professor of University in 2002. Since 2006, she has served as a director of  LPQM.

She served different evaluation instances as the university national committee (CNU), the selection jury for junior candidates at “Institut Universitaire de France”, the selection jury for PEDR/PES bonus. Since September 2006, she has been coordinating the european master Erasmus Mundus Master course « Monabiphot »[i].

Fields of Research:

The Isabelle Ledoux-Rak's current research is focused on molecular and supramolecular engineering of molecules and materials for photonic applications, especially multifunctional nanoscale compounds and structures combining Non Linear Optics and laser properties.

She recently reported the evidence of a significant enhancement of the quadratic nonlinear optical properties of molecules grafted on the surface of gold nanoparticles in solution. Another significant achievement has been the demonstration of a huge exaltation of quadratic NLO response for photoswitchable molecules. Another part of her activities focused on the elaboration of waveguiding polymer devices combining NLO and gain properties in the near infrared using erbium complexes. She reported a positive net gain in single mode erbium-doped polymer waveguides in 2006. She is currently investigating IR gain properties in polymer materials doped with lead chalcogenide quantum dots, NLO responses of rare earth complexes and oxides, and gold nanoparticles.  

Since 2008, Isabelle Ledoux is also involved, in an European project devoted to the design, elaboration and characterization of passive and active disk- and ring-shaped microresonators for sensor applications.

Her research is the subject of collaborations with different international groups in Europe, United States and Israel.


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