Published on November 27, 2023 Updated on November 27, 2023

François Leo - OPERA, Ecole polytechnique de Bruxelles - has been awarded a 3rd ERC - a prestigious grant from the European Research Council - for the HIGHRES project, High resolution dual comb spectroscopy and ranging.

Spectroscopy and metrology are among the most important applications of electromagnetic fields. The very rapid oscillations of light enable very rapid and precise measurements of the radiation emitted and absorbed by matter.

An FNRS-qualified researcher at the OPERA laboratory, Ecole polytechnique de Bruxelles, François Leo has been working for many years on an innovative optical source, optical frequency combs. This revolutionary optical source won its inventors the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005. It has since been demonstrated that the use of two coupled sources can greatly accelerate spectroscopic and metrological measurements.

But this double-comb technology has not yet revealed all its capabilities, and there are still advances to be made before these systems can be used with high resolution, which is essential for applications such as gas detection or large-scale metrology.

This is the limit that François Leo is tackling in his HIGHRES project, supported by an ERC Consolidator grant. In his European project, François Leo is proposing a new technique that should enable a thousand-fold improvement in the resolution currently achieved. After a theoretical analysis, François Leo will build innovative frequency combs using optical fibers. Finally, he will demonstrate experimentally two applications of this new technique.

François Leo has been awarded his 3rd European Research Council "consolidator grant". He previously won an ERC starting grant (in 2017), followed (in 2023) by an ERC POC (proof of concept).