Unit historical background

A Brief History of the UPR A0005

Located in the Laboratoire d’Optique Physique of ESPCI, the UPR A0005 was established in 1967 and its direction entrusted to Jacques Badoz.

The reputation of the team during the 60s was forged through original experimental tools (polarimeters and dichrometers) which ensured a significant advance in the field of fine measurement of the polarization states of light. These themes are at the origin of the name that was given to the laboratory during its creation: Laboratory of Polarized Light Spectroscopy.

The 70s were largely devoted to refining the modeling of physical effects in doped crystals (electron-lattice interactions, Jahn Teller effect, magnetic interactions...), and to studying new systems (clusters, insulating spin glasses...). Note that, in addition, the team has maintained its mission to develop effective instruments and to ensure the transfer of knowledge to the industrial world.

In the early 80s photoacoustic/ photothermal detection was introduced to the laboratory for the spectroscopy of "exotic complex original" objects then more widely for the study of transport phenomena. The mirage effect detection patented by the laboratory has led to industrial developments. This same period also saw the completion of original crystal syntheses. Meanwhile remarkable results have been obtained on kinetic studies of insulating spin glasses and on the dynamics of excitation transfer in doped systems at the percolation threshold.

  • Creation of the optics group

The 90s were marked by the development of new experimental tools under the leadership of Claude Boccara who succeeded Jacques Badoz as head of the Laboratory and by the creation of the "optics group". Especially noteworthy are near field optical microscopy, the antenna for VIRGO gravitational wave detection and the development of appropriate characterization tools, and finally imaging through complex media. These years were also marked by a strong shift from single measure point towards the acquisition of images used to represent a distribution of local physical properties such as thermal imaging, interferometric microscopy, birefringence imaging etc..

  • Creation of the Superconductivity group

Julien Bok founded a group working on superconductivity at high critical temperature at the ESPCI in the early 90s, in the laboratory of Solid State Physics. In 1998 PG de Gennes asked Nicole Bontemps to join Julien Bok’s team to gather a large group working on superconductors. This was the start of a ESPCI "Superconductivity group", which reached critical mass in 2000 with a group of researchers and teacher-researchers from the ENS and Orsay. It was mainly rooted in two ESPCI laboratories: the Solid State Physics Laboratory (Director N. Bontemps) and Quantum Physics Laboratory (Director J. Lesueur). This group was a Parisian Node of the European Network of Excellence SCENET (2002-2006) on superconductivity under the responsibility of N. Bontemps, a member of "PROPERTIES Featured in Oxides" (2002-2006) under the leadership of P. Monod. It is also since 2004 part of the Parisian Consortium (together with teams from Orsay, Polytechnique, CEA, ENS and the Institut Curie) ICAM ("Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter", institute without walls born in the USA, with a highly interdisciplinary vocation). The group, strengthened by the recruitment of CNRS researchers, now evolves towards the theme "Electrons in Interaction."

  • Recent research topics

Historically, activities at the UPR5 were mostly organized around research themes relevant to Section 04 (Optics) on the one hand, and section 06 (Solid State Physics) on the other. Note that some research topics have their place among the thematics of section 08 (near-field, components ...), and we want to strengthen ties between the laboratory and this section. This is refelected by the positioning we have proposed to the CNRS in the framework of the ongoing reform , 80% MPPU and 20% Engineering. The direction team in place since January 2003 (D. Fournier Director, Deputy Director: J. Lesueur) and renewed in January 2007 (Director: J. Lesueur, Assistant Director: D. Fournier), has declared its intention to strengthen the cohesion of the UPR in both the organization of research and in the organization of technical platforms. Accompanying the natural evolution of research themes, and relying on the momentum generated by new researchers and teacher-researchers, a new reading grid of laboratory activities has been proposed. Since 2005, the research activities of the laboratory are classified according to three different axes:

- Nanophysics, Nanostructures and Nanomaterials
- Electrons in interactions
- Imaging of complex media, to which is added a transverse axis:
- Imaging and Instrumentation, which reflects how the development of a successful and innovative instrumentation is a strong point of the research activity at the laboratory.

This new division of the laboratory, based on physics rather than on institutional affiliations, is the new "face" the laboratory has developped during the recent years. In 2008, the laboratory changed its name to "Photons and Matter Laboratory".

  • New configuration of the LPEM

C. Boccara’s team (11 permanent) decided to leave the LPEM on January 1, 2009, and joined the laboratory headed by Mr. Fink at the ESPCI. The LPEM has somewhat restructured around its priority axes: nanomaterials, nanostructures and nanophysics; the study of low dimensional and correlated electronic systems; and ultimate optical instrumentation. LPEM activities now develops along these three axes:

Nanophysics, Nanostructures and Nanomaterials
Correlated electronic and low-dimensional systems

  • Change of name and status

In March 2010, the laboratory became a Mixed Unit (UMR 8213) of ESPCI, UPMC and CNRS. It also changed its name to become the "Laboratory of Physics and Materials Study." Atthe CNRS, it depends on the INP (Institute of Physics) and INSIS (Institute of Systems Engineering Sciences), and is attached to sections 06, 04 and 08 of the National Committee. At UPMC, it is mainly attached to the UFR 925, and to sections 28, 30 and 63 of the CNU.