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Efficiency in the interaction of light and matter: from nano-quantum optics to nanobiophotonics

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Light-matter interaction at the nanometer scale lies at the heart of elementary optical processes such as absorption, emission or scattering. Over the past two decades, we have realized a series of experiments to investigate the interaction of single photons, single molecules, and single nanoparticles in a controlled fashion. In this presentation, I will report on recent studies, where we reach near-unity efficiency in the coupling of single photons to single molecules. Furthermore, I will show how the underlying mechanisms that play a central role in quantum optics, e.g. interference, help detect single biological nanoparticles such as viruses and small proteins with high spatial and temporal resolutions.

This talk is part of the Assembly and Function of Complex Systems series.

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