The University of Southampton

Southampton physicist’s ‘exceptionally promising’ future acclaimed in Philip Leverhulme Prize

Published: 2 November 2018
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Dr Simone De Liberato

Quantum physicist Dr Simone De Liberato has been recognised as an outstanding researcher through the awarding of a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize.

The Associate Professor, based in the University of Southampton’s School of Physics and Astronomy, has pursued an eclectic academic career to date that has ranged from fundamental physics through to applied technologies.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes are awarded by the Leverhulme Trust and recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted global recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising.

Simone has developed an international reputation during his time at the University of Southampton as a Royal Society Research Fellow and leader of the Quantum Theory and Technology Group.

“It is such an honour to see my efforts and achievements recognised,” Simone says. “This award will help me to push forward my investigations on the ultimate limit of the interaction between light and matter at the quantum level.”

Simone’s current research interest explores hybrid particles known as polaritons. These half-light, half-matter entities are formed when light and matter are made to interact so strongly that they lose their individuality.

“I’m developing a polariton-based nanophotonic technology cheap enough to be integrated into smartphones,” he explains. “By exploiting this technology in the near future, your smartphones could, for example, perform a non-invasive health check-up analysing your breath each time you make a phone call. There are also many other potential applications from telecommunications to security.”

Simone studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and completed a PhD at the Université Paris Diderot, before undertaking international postdoctorate research roles and co-founding multiple startup companies. He joined the University of Southampton as a Lecturer in 2012.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes have been awarded since 2001 in commemoration of the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of William Hesketh Lever, founder of the Leverhulme Trust. The £100,000 prizes are selected for different subject areas each year, with 2018’s recipients selected from classics, earth sciences, physics, politics and international relations, psychology and visual and performing arts.

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