Dr Jun Ye receives the 2021 Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics

The 2021 Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics is awarded to Dr Jun Ye for pioneering research in fundamental quantum interactions of elemental matter and light, exploiting precision optical spectroscopy and laser-lattice atomic traps. The award comes with a prize of US$5,000.

Heidelberg | London, 20 May 2021

A_Jun Ye © Jun Ye

Dr Jun Ye, Fellow of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and JILA, member of National Academy of Sciences and Professor Adjoint of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, has made pioneering contributions to the understanding of light-matter interactions in the quantum regime through ultra-precision control and measurements. From humble beginnings in home-country China, Dr Ye's potential was spotted early by talent scouts offering him a place in the prestigious Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Looking to the horizons he sought out postgraduate studies under the guidance of eminent quantum scientists M. Scully (Uni. Of New Mexico) and Nobel Laureate J.L. Hall (CU Boulder). His research exploited and developed precision optical spectroscopy and laser atom (and molecule) trapping techniques that have unveiled uncharted territory in quantum superposition states of matter. A key milestone in 2015 was his team's demonstration of the most accurate clock known to humankind, followed in 2017 by another milestone of achieving precision of 3 in 1019.  Built upon a long lineage of scientific advances in creating near ideal perturbation-free isolated atoms exploiting optical lattices traps, harvesting the enormous power of their joint quantum superposition states and unsullied frequency signatures, Dr Ye and his team are world leaders in time keeping and communicating with atoms through light. 

“I am very much honored by being named a recipient of the Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics.  I see quite a few colleagues whose scientific work I admire are among the past awardees. Thank you for bestowing this honor on me and my co-workers. I look forward to the virtual award ceremony during the webinar in the fall”, said Dr. Ye.

“We are very pleased to be able to accolade the fine work of Dr Ye. He has made many incredibly important scientific contributions in the light-mater and quantum physics fields. A stout supporter of the Springer Nature Applied Physics journals, it is a truly fitting occasion that we can celebrate his pioneering spirit and accomplishments with this prize.”, said Dr. Jacob Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Applied Physics B.

The Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding and innovative contribution to the field of applied physics. It has been awarded annually since 1998 by the editors-in-chief of the Springer journals Applied Physics A – Materials Science & Processing and Applied Physics B – Lasers and Optics. Recent winners have included Roland Wiesendanger, Xiang Zhang, Viktor Malka, Guus Rijnders, Jerome Faist and Leon Chua.

The Julius Springer Prize virtual ceremony webinar will take place in autumn 2021. The exact date and all details will be announced soon.


Dr Jun Ye | © Dr Jun Ye

Further information

Find out more about Jun Ye’s work in the following articles published in Applied Physics B and other Springer Nature titles: 

Selected publications

[OpenAccess] Iwakuni, K., Porat, G., Bui, T.Q. et al. Phase-stabilized 100 mW frequency comb near 10 μm. Appl. Phys. B 124, 128 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-018-6996-8  

Changala, P.B., Spaun, B., Patterson, D. et al. Sensitivity and resolution in frequency comb spectroscopy of buffer gas cooled polyatomic molecules . Appl. Phys. B 122, 292 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-016-6569-7  

Foltynowicz, A., Masłowski, P., Fleisher, A.J. et al. Cavity-enhanced optical frequency comb spectroscopy in the mid-infrared application to trace detection of hydrogen peroxide. Appl. Phys. B 110, 163–175 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-012-5024-7

Cossel, K.C., Adler, F., Bertness, K.A. et al. Analysis of trace impurities in semiconductor gas via cavity-enhanced direct frequency comb spectroscopy. Appl. Phys. B 100, 917–924 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-010-4132-5

Thorpe, M., Ye, J. Cavity-enhanced direct frequency comb spectroscopy. Appl. Phys. B 91, 397–414 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-008-3019-1

Ye, J., Cundiff, S., Foreman, S. et al. Phase-coherent synthesis of optical frequencies and waveforms. Appl Phys B 74, s27–s34 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00340-002-0905-9

Yoon, T., Ye, J., Hall, . et al. Absolute frequency measurement of the iodine-stabilized He-Ne laser at 633 nm . Appl Phys B 72, 221–226 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/s003400000473

Mabuchi, H., Ye, J. & Kimble, H. Full observation of single-atom dynamics in cavity QED . Appl Phys B 68, 1095–1108 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s003400050751  


Ye, Jun, Cundiff, Steven T. (Eds.) Femtosecond Optical Frequency Comb: Principle, Operation and Applications XII, 362, https://doi.org/10.1007/b102450

5 Highly cited

Bloom, B., Nicholson, T., Williams, J. et al. An optical lattice clock with accuracy and stability at the 10−18 level. Nature 506, 71–75 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12941

Yan, B., Moses, S., Gadway, B. et al. Observation of dipolar spin-exchange interactions with lattice-confined polar molecules. Nature 501, 521–525 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12483

Cingöz, A., Yost, D., Allison, T. et al. Direct frequency comb spectroscopy in the extreme ultraviolet. Nature 482, 68–71 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10711

Kessler, T., Hagemann, C., Grebing, C. et al. A sub-40-mHz-linewidth laser based on a silicon single-crystal optical cavity. Nature Photon 6, 687–692 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2012.217

[OpenAccess] Nicholson, T., Campbell, S., Hutson, R. et al. Systematic evaluation of an atomic clock at 2 × 10−18 total uncertainty. Nat Commun 6, 6896 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7896

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Renate Bayaz | Springer Nature | Communications
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