J.-Y. Bigot is a Research Director at CNRS which he integrated in 1984 after his PhD. He then prepared a “Doctorat d’État”, which he obtained in 1987, on the study of Optical Bistable Phenomena. Afterwards he spent two years in the USA, first at AT&T Bell Laboratories (Holmdel, New Jersey) and then at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (Berkeley, California). During these two years he worked, with the team of Charles Shank, on the ultrafast dynamics of molecular systems in solution and on the electron dynamics in semiconductor quantum wells. These experiments were performed with optical pulses shorter than 10 femtoseconds and several of them are premières, giving new insights into the physics of the light-matter interaction in dense systems. Back to Strasbourg in 1990, he developed a fruitful research program on the dynamical processes taking place in polymers and in metallic materials at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Materials (IPCMS). For example, he has shown the existence of an ultrafast conformation change in a polymer backbone, studied the vibronic wave-packet associated to the C=C chemical bond, investigated the interaction between plasmons and quasi-particles in metallic nanoparticles, demonstrated the possibility of modifying the magnetization of ferromagnetic materials at the femtosecond time scale. This discovery has been the starting point of a prolific research field in magnetism named “Femtomagnetism”. Several international groups are now investigating this field which progresses are reported every two years at the conference “Ultrafast Magnetism” (2013: Strasbourg, 2015: Niejmegen). Simultaneously, during the years 1990-96 J.-Y. Bigot developped several research activities in the group of Daniel Chemla at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, studying the coherent properties of excitons in semiconductors.
His current interest in Physics are dedicated to the study of the dynamical processes in metallic nanostructures, using the techniques of femtosecond optical and magneto-optical spectroscopy. Jean-Yves Bigot has also been teaching the graduate level Physics courses of Nonlinear Optics and Light Matter Interaction at the University Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg. He has been the leader of the Group of Nonlinear Optics and Opto-electronics at IPCMS since 2000. He was awarded two prizes from the French Physical Society : in 1987 (Brelot award) and 2000 (Ancel award) for his studies of ultrafast dynamical processes in condensed matter physics. In 2008 he received the silver medal of CNRS and in 2009 an Advanced Researcg Grant from the European Research Council (ERC AdG). In 2011 he received special fundings (Equipex UNION) from the National Research Agency (ANR) in France to develop a new research platform dedicated to “Ultrafast optics, NanophotonIcs, plasmONics”. In 2012 he became director of the initiative of excellence Labex NIE, also financed by the ANR, which gathers 40 researchers from three laboratories in Strasbourg (IPCMS, ISIS, ICS) around the topic “Nano-objects Interacting with their Environment”.