The European Microscopy Society FEI-EM prize in the category "Physical/Materials Sciences and Optics" for 2012 has been awarded to Mathieu Kociak for his "outstanding achievements in the development of avant garde, instrumental and theoretical branches of nanoscience ".
Mathieu Kociak is a research scientist at the CNRS. He is a member of the electron microscopy and spectroscopy group in the Laboratory of Solid State Physics LPS in Orsay, France. This is a joint CNRS / Université Paris-Sud unit. The prize-winning work was carried out in collaboration with several members of the LPS electron microscopy and spectroscopy group and supported by high quality international collaborations. The work aimed to measure and understand the optical phenomena occurring in nano-objects at the nanometer scale. Its originality lies in the demonstration that it is possible to use electron spectroscopy in an electron microscope to overcome the diffraction limit of optical techniques that use only photons. Several methodological and instrumental developments have been combined to push electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) and cathodoluminescence (CL) to their limits. This made it possible to obtain the high spatial and spectral resolution needed to permit in-depth exploration of the physics of plasmon excitations in metallic nanoparticles and excitons in individual quantum wells. With the demonstration of the parallels between optical phenomena as probed either by electrons or photons, this work opens up new avenues for the understanding of optics at the nanometer scale.
The FEI-EM prize in the category "Life Sciences" was awarded to Yves Dufrêne of the Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanoscience, University of Leuven, Belgium, for his "outstanding achievements in the study of living cells at high resolution by atomic force microscopy. "
The quadrennial FEI-EM prize, sponsored by the FEI Company will be officially awarded on September 21, 2012 at the closing ceremony of the 2012 European Microscopy Conference 2012 in Manchester, UK.