Interferometers are instruments that extract information from the interference of waves in order to perform precise measurements. They are widely used in science and industry, with applications ranging from quantum physics to bio-medicine, as well as astronomy, chemistry and optometry. Nathalie Picqué is a research group leader at the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, where she developed a breakthrough in the field of interferometry. Her dual-comb interferometer uses frequency combs, rainbows of light waves. Fundamentally different from any other spectrometer, it automatically scans interference between ultrashort pulses. It performs direct frequency measurements and can analyze the fingerprints of molecules in greater detail than ever before. At Falling Walls, Picqué talks about her discovery and its impact on applications such as environmental gas sensing.

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