Université de Strasbourg

Thomas Ebbesen

Chair of Physical Chemistry of Light-Matter Interactions, Director of USIAS

Thomas EbbesenThomas Ebbesen is professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Strasbourg in France, known for his pioneering work in nanoscience. Ebbesen received a bachelor degree from Oberlin College (USA) and a PhD from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris in the field of photo-physical chemistry. He worked at the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory and in 1988 he joined the NEC Fundamental Research Laboratories in Japan.

While working at NEC, Ebbesen found that, contrary to the then accepted theory, it was possible to transmit light extremely efficiently through subwavelength holes milled in opaque metal films under certain conditions. The phenomenon, known as extraordinary optical transmission, has raised fundamental questions and is finding applications in broad variety of areas from chemistry to opto-electronics.

In 1999, Thomas Ebbesen joined the Institut de Science et d'Ingénierie Supramoleculaire (ISIS) at the University of Strasbourg which he headed from 2005 to 2012. He is currently the director of the International Center for Frontier Research in Chemistry (ICFRC), and director of the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study (USIAS).

For his pioneering and extensive contribution to the field of carbon nanotubes, he shared the 2001 EuroPhysics Prize with Sumio Iijima, Cees Dekker and Paul McEuen. In addition, Ebbesen has received numerous awards for the discovery of the phenomenon of extraordinary optical transmission, among which the 2005 France Telecom Prize of the French Academy of Sciences and the 2009 Quantum Electronics and Optics Prize of the European Physical Society (EPS). He is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF), the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the French Academy of Science and the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium.

On September 9th 2014, Thomas Ebbesen received the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience together with Stefan Hell and Sir John Pendry for their transformative contributions to the field of nano-optics. On May 25th 2015, Thomas Ebbesen received an honorary Doctorate of Science of Oberlin College, in the presence of First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.


The University of Leuven has awarded an honorary doctorate to Thomas Ebbesen (2 February 2018) (link)

Thomas Ebbesen has been appointed to the Liliane Bettencourt Chair of Technological Innovation at the Collège de France for the academic year 2017-2018 (link)

Thomas Ebbesen will receive the 35th Anniversary Award of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) on 20 Junie 2018 (link)

Investissements d'Avenir