Top professor for SDU Center for Nano Optics
As the youngest researcher to do so, Professor N. Asger Mortensen recently received 40 million DKK from Villum Fonden. On 1st May, he takes up his position as Professor and Villum Ingestigator at SDU Center for Nano Optics.
44-year-old N. Asger Mortensen takes up his position as Professor and Villum Investigator at SDU Center for Nano Optics, Mads Clausen Institute, where he will continue his work on understanding and researching complex optical wave phenomena at the interface between classical electrodynamics and quantum physics.
- I'm driven to understand complicated problems and reach surprising new insights. And it's also fascinating to see how others can use my research, says N. Asger Mortensen.
And with a creative brain, the understanding of waves can be used for many things which can be of use to society. One of the major achievements in N. Asger Mortensen's research career is his contribution to fibre optic cables, of which our information highway is comprised.
Along with colleagues from DTU, he has also shown how nanotechnology can be used to store information in surfaces with very high information density in such a way that they do not take up space. For instance, the research group has compressed a copy of the Mona Lisa so such an extent that the picture is invisible to the naked eye.
N. Asger Mortensen has also shown how slow light can be used to increase the sensitivity of optical sensors. The principle is used today to track ultra low traces of substances such as toxic residues and other undesirable chemical compositions in food, drinks and medicine.
- It's now part of reality that our research should be of benefit to society, says N. Asger Mortensen, who is originally an engineering graduate and looks on it as his finest task to find new solutions for society's problems.
But he also stresses that it is important to be careful not to promise instant solutions to complex problems.
- Research takes time, and although we can be driven to solve a particular problem, the reality can be completely different. So it's important to be creative and open to the research taking new directions. Just look at the transistor and the laser. It took many years before they had the revolutionary influence on society that they have today, underlines N. Asger Mortensen.
Consequently, he is also extremely pleased about the large Villum Investigator grant of nearly 40 million DKK that he recently received. As a new feature, Villum Fonden awards this prestigious grant to an individual top researcher in trust and confidence that the grant will be used for ground breaking research.