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.
Nathalie Picqué is a research group leader at the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany). She was previously a tenured research scientist with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at Orsay (France). She received her doctoral degree in Physics from Université Paris-Saclay (France) in 1998. Her research interests are in the areas of optics and molecular physics, more particularly in interferometry, precision spectroscopy and laser technology. Her research focuses on exploring new ideas that involve laser frequency combs and on applying these novel concepts to metrology, molecular spectroscopy, holography and chip-scale sensing. A 2019 Optica fellow, Nathalie Picqué has received several awards, including the 2007 Bronze Medal of the CNRS, the 2013 Coblentz award in Molecular Spectroscopy, the 2021 Gentner-Kastler Prize in Physics, a 2021 European Research Council Advanced Grant and the 2022 Helmholtz Prize in Metrology.