Michel Orrit

Titels Prof. dr.
Initials M.A.G.J.
Main position Hoogleraar UL
Disciplines Science and technology
  Atomic physics and molecular physics
  Physical chemistry
Chair Moleculaire fysica
Domain Natural Sciences and Engineering
Membership Member
Since 2018
Member of Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering
Member of Natural Sciences and Engineering
Employed by Universiteit Leiden
Huygens Laboratorium
Postbus 9504
2333 CA Leiden
tel.  071 527 1720
Personal website

Michel Orrit has laid the foundation for single-molecule optics. He developed a sensitive technique that uses laser light at specific wavelengths to illuminate individual molecules. At first, he was only able to study fluorescent molecules, but he later broadened the technique so that it also worked for ‘dark’ molecules. One of his most recent achievements is the use of gold nanoparticles to scan the conditions in a cell. Orrit’s methods enable scientists to unravel many different physical and chemical processes in living matter. In 2017 he was awarded NWO’s Spinoza Prize, the Netherlands’ most prestigious science award.