Cambridge, Mass. - May 13, 2013 - The European Physical Society (EPS) will award its most prestigious prize in Quantum Electronics and Optics to Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The prizes are awarded only once every two years, and recognize the very highest level of achievements in applied and fundamental research in optical physics. The awards will be presented in a special plenary ceremony on May 14, 2013, during the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) Europe, held during the World of Photonics Congress in Munich, Germany.

Capasso joined Harvard University in 2003 after 27 years at Bell Labs where he was Member of Technical Staff, Department Head and Vice President for Physical Research.

In announcing the 2013 Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics, EPS cited Capasso's “seminal contributions to the invention and demonstration of the quantum cascade laser."

His research has also focused on nanoscale science and technology encompassing a broad range of topics including band-structure engineering of semiconductor nanostructures and quantum devices, the investigation of attractive and repulsive Casimir forces, plasmonics, and flat optics based on metasurfaces.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His awards include the IEEE Sarnoff Award in Electronics (1991), the Materials Research Society Medal (1995), the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute (1997), the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics (1998), the Optical Society Wood Prize (2001), the IEEE Edison Medal (2004), the APS Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2004), the King Faisal Prize (2005), the Berthold Leibinger Zukunft Prize (2010), the Julius Springer Prize in Applied Physics (2010), the Jan Czochralski Award for lifetime achievements in Materials Science (2011), and the SPIE Gold Medal (2013).

In addition to the prize for "applied aspects," the EPS awards a second prize for the "fundamental aspects" of quantum electronics and optics. Maciej Lewenstein, ICREA Research Professor and Head of the Quantum Optics Theory Group at The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona, Spain, will receive the fundamental prize for his "outstanding contributions to several areas of theoretical quantum optics and to the use of quantum gases for quantum information and to attosecond optics."

About the European Physical Society - Quantum Electronics and Optics Division

The European Physical Society provides an international forum for physicists and acts as a federation of national physical societies. Founded in 1968, the EPS plays a leading role in both scientific and policy activities within the community of European physicists. The Quantum Electronics and Optics Division (QEOD) of the EPS acts as a focal point for European research in optics and photonics through its wide range of strategic activities, sponsorship and conference organisation.  In addition to the major awards described above, it also awards Young Researcher (Fresnel) and Ph.D. Student Prizes.