Prof. Michel Orrit
Leiden University, the Netherlands

Michel Orrit was born on February 27, 1956 in Toulouse, France, and studied at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

He obtained a Ph.D. in physics in 1984 at Bordeaux University. During a post-doctoral stay in Göttingen (Germany) with H. Kuhn and D. Möbius, he studied Langmuir-Blodgett films doped with dyes. Back in Bordeaux, he and J. Bernard used the spectral hole-burning technique to investigate low-temperature dynamics and molecular orientation in these systems. They observed the first fluorescence signal from a single molecule in 1990. Their fluorescence excitation method was quickly adopted in several groups throughout the world, and was soon extended to room temperature in 1993. Since then, Orrit's group first in Bordeaux, then in Leiden since 2001, has stressed the power of single-molecule spectroscopy to remove ensemble averaging and to reveal dynamics at molecular scales without need for synchronization. He continues developing and applying single-molecule techniques to soft matter, nanoparticle plasmonics and nonlinear optics.

Michel Orrit recently received the Edison-Volta Prize of the European Physical Society in 2016, and the Spinoza Prize of the Dutch Science Foundation NWO in 2017.


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