It was announced on Tuesday that Serge Haroche and David Wineland have won the Nobel prize in physics.

Haroche, a professor of quantum physics at the Collège de France since 2001, and Wineland, group leader and NIST fellow at the University of Colorado, both got the Nobel Prize for their work on quantum optics.

Serge Haroche

David Wineland

Quantum optics is the study at fundamental levels of light and matter. Their research could lead to advances in communication and computation.

Dr Alexander Belton from Lancaster University said:

“Professors Haroche and Wineland both work in the field of quantum optics.

“This is the part of physics concerned with the interaction between light and matter at the quantum level, so between individual particles of light, photons, and matter, such as atoms or ions (which are atoms but with electrons missing).

“Haroche and Wineland have been able to do experiments which involve manipulating individual particles while maintaining their quantum nature; this is very difficult to achieve because particles tend to interact with the environment and then behave in a classical (non-quantum) manner.

“Quantum optics may offer… an advance in computing power far beyond what present systems offer.”

Their achievements are bound to have tremendous effects in the quantum world.

For more information about their research check out the summary on the Nobel prize website which can be found here.