Alain Aspect

Alain Aspect headshot

Alain Aspect

Principal Investigator (WAVE), Institut d'Optique Graduate School (École Polytechnique)


Alain Aspect is a professor at Institut d'Optique Graduate School (Augustin Fresnel chair), and at Ecole Polytechnique, in Palaiseau, France. He is an experimentalist in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, whose interests bear on basic quantum phenomena. His thesis on experimental tests of Bell's inequalities has settled a debate initiated by Bohr and Einstein 50 years earlier, and marked the start of the vibrant field of quantum information science. This work has been selected as the “Physical Review Milestone Letter” of the year 1981. It has been singled out by innumerable awards, including the 2010 Wolf Prize in Physics, the CNRS Gold medal (2005), the Albert Einstein medal (2012), the Niels Bohr Gold medal (2013), the Balzan prize in quantum information (2013). From 1985 to 1992, he worked on laser cooling of atoms with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Nobel laureate 1997), and was instrumental in the invention and demonstration of a new method in laser cooling of atoms (Laser cooling below the one photon recoil), highlighted by the Nobel committee. In 1993, he founded a group at Institut d'Optique, where he still belongs, working on quantum phenomena with ultra-cold atoms, from quantum atom optics to Anderson localization. The paper on the first direct observation of Anderson localization with ultra-cold atoms is his 4th most cited paper, just after the Bell's inequalities papers.

Alain Aspect is a member of several science academies in France (Académie des Sciences, Académie des technologies), USA (National Academy of Sciences), Austria, Belgium, UK (Royal Society) and has received many honorary doctorates. He has served on many evaluation committees, and is still a member of several scientific Advisory Boards in Europe, USA, Australia. He is a senior fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies of City University in Hong Kong.

You can read more about Dr. Aspect on his Wikipedia page or his École Polytechnique homepage.


Textbook on Quantum Optics 

Introduction to Quantum Optics: from the semi-classical approach to quantized light, Gilbert Grynberg, Alain Aspect, Claude Fabre, revised with the help of Fabien Bretenaker and Antoine Browaeys, Foreword by Claude Cohen-Tannoudji.

Selected Publications

  • A. Aspect, "PROPOSED EXPERIMENT TO TEST NONSEPARABILITY OF QUANTUM-MECHANICS," Physical Review D 14 (8), 1944-1951 (1976). 1976 PRD proposed exper 1944_1
  • A. Aspect, P. Grangier, and G. Roger, "EXPERIMENTAL REALIZATION OF EINSTEIN-PODOLSKY-ROSEN-BOHM GEDANKENEXPERIMENT - A NEW VIOLATION OF BELL INEQUALITIES," Physical Review Letters 49 (2), 91-94 (1982). 1982 PRL Bell 2 way
  • A. Aspect, J. Dalibard, and G. Roger, "EXPERIMENTAL TEST OF BELL INEQUALITIES USING TIME-VARYING ANALYZERS," Physical Review Letters 49 (25), 1804-1807 (1982). 1982 PRL Bell ADR
  • P. Grangier, G. Roger, and A. Aspect, "EXPERIMENTAL-EVIDENCE FOR A PHOTON ANTICORRELATION EFFECT ON A BEAM SPLITTER - A NEW LIGHT ON SINGLE-PHOTON INTERFERENCES," Europhysics Letters 1 (4), 173-179 (1986) . 1986 Europhys lett duality
  • A. Robert, O. Sirjean, A. Browaeys, J. Poupard, S. Nowak, D. Boiron, CI Westbrook, and A. Aspect, "A Bose-Einstein condensate of metastable atoms," Science 292 (5516), 461 -464 (2001). 2001 Science He BEC
  • A. Aspect, E. Arimondo, R. Kaiser, N. Vansteenkiste, and C. Cohentannoudji, "LASER COOLING BELOW THE ONE-PHOTON RECOIL ENERGY BY VELOCITY-SELECTIVE COHERENT POPULATION TRAPPING," Physical Review Letters 61 (7), 826- 829 (1988). 1988 PRL VSCPT
  • V. Jacques, E. Wu, F. Grosshans, F. Treussart, P. Grangier, A. Aspect, and JF Roch, "Experimental realization of Wheeler's delayed-choice gedanken experiment," Science 315 (5814), 966-968 ( 2007). 2007 Science delayed choice
  • T. Jeltes, JM McNamara, W. Hogervorst, W. Vassen, V. Krachmalnicoff, M. Schellekens, A. Perrin, H. Chang, D. Boiron, A. Aspect, and CI Westbrook, "Comparison of the Hanbury Brown- Twiss effect for bosons and fermions, "Nature 445 (7126), 402-405 (2007). 2007 nature05513 bosons fermions
  • J. Billy, V. Josse, ZC Zuo, A. Bernard, B. Hambrecht, P. Lugan, D. Clement, L. Sanchez-Palencia, P. Bouyer, and A. Aspect, "Direct observation of Anderson localization of matter waves in a controlled disorder, "Nature 453 (7197), 891-894 (2008).  2008 Nature Anderson
  • R. Lopes, A. Imanaliev, A. Aspect, M. Cheneau, D. Boiron, and CI Westbrook, "Atomic Hong-Ou-Mandel experiment," Nature 520 (7545), 66-U134 (2015). 2015 Nature-HOM

Overviews of Bell's inequalities tests, with references

Some papers of AA not so easy to find

  • John Bell and the second quantum revolution (foreword of "Speakable and unspeakble in quantum Mechanics", JS Bell papers on quantum mechanics, Cambridge University Press, 2004)   Foreword to Bell collected papers
  • Bell Theorem: the naïve view of an experimentalist (a presentation of Bell's theorem with a review of the experimental tests of Bell's inequalities, 2004)   Bell Theorem: naïve view of an experimentalist