Henry Kapteyn

Dr. Henry C. Kapteyn has been a Professor at the Department of Physics and a Fellow of JILA, at the University of Colorado since 1999. Previously, he was an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at the University of Michigan, and an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Physics at Washington State University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989, in the field of x-ray and short-wavelength laser physics. His work at WSU, done in collaboration with Prof. Margaret Murnane, resulted in the development of a new generation of lasers which make it straightforward to produce light pulse of less than ten femtoseconds duration.

At Michigan, he continued this research in demonstrating novel techniques for generation short-duration light pulses in the deep-ultraviolet and soft x-ray regions of the spectrum.This work opens a new region of the electromagnetic spectrum to fundamental studies using coherent ultrashort light pulses. He is currently applying this technology to studies of dynamic processes in atomic, molecular, and materials systems, as well as for technological applications such as nanoscale-resolution imaging. This work has resulted in a number of advances in fundmental science, including the first demonstration of coherent manipulation of atoms on the attosecond time scales, and the first studies of "radiation femtochemistry" where the dynamics of a molecular exposed to ionizing radiation were for the first time followed in real-time.

Prof. Kapteyn has received a number of awards including the National Science Foundation Young Investigator award in 1992, the Optical Society of America's Adolph Lomb Medal in 1993, and as co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane of the 2009 Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology of the American Chemical Society.

Prof. Kapteyn is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS),  the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Acadmey of Arts and Sciences.

Honors & Awards

  • 2021 - Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (Co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane)
  • 2020 - Fellow National Academy of Inventors Society (Co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane)
  • 2019 - R&D 100 Award for Quantum Microscope (KMLabs – JILA team)
  • 2019 - Colorado Governor’s Award for High Impact Research (Co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane)
  • 2018 - American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2014 - CU Boulder Investor of the Year
  • 2013 - National Academy of Sciences
  • 2013 - Outstanding Alumni Award, Harvey Mudd College
  • 2012 - Vice Chair and Chair Elect, APS Division of Laser Science
  • 2012 - Willis Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics (Co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane)
  • 2010 - R.W. Wood Prize, Optical Society of America
  • 2010 - Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (Co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane)
  • 2009 - Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology of the American Chemical Society (Co-recipient with Prof. Margaret Murnane)
  • 1993 - Optical Society of America's Adolph Lomb Medal
  • 1992 - National Science Foundation Young Investigator award


JILA, University of Colorado at Boulder and NIST

JILA Center for Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics

Henry Kapteyn photo.