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OSA | Living History

Florin Abeles

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Florin Abeles played a pioneering role in developing the theory of optical properties of thin films. He was born in Galatz, Romania, on October 1922, and he obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Paris University in 1949. He developed his elegant matrix formulation for wave propagation in a stratified medium, which became part of a chapter in Born and Wolf ’s famous book Principles of Optics.

Florin’s papers about the optical properties of thin films were a source of inspiration to generations of young researchers. He also made major contributions to the development of ellipsometry in France and to the application of this technique to the characterization of surface and interface layers in metallurgy, electrochemistry and biology. In 1959, he founded its own group at the Institut d’Optique of Paris, before joining the University Pierre et Marie Curie of Paris as the director of the Laboratoire d’Optique des Solides until 1985. He retired in 1993.

In 1969, he founded the well-known international journal Optics Communications, for which he served as editor until 1993. A Fellow of the OSA, the French Society of Physics, and the French Society of Optics, Florin received the Holweck Foundation Prize of the Académie des Sciences and the Louis Lancel Prize of the French Society of Physics. He was awarded the OSA’s 1991 C.E.K. Mees Medal for the whole of his research achievements related to the theory of the optical properties of thin films, the theory and applications of surface electromagnetic waves and the optical properties of metal alloys—particularly his experimental proof of the existence of virtual bound states in noble metaltransition metal alloys by optical spectroscopy.

Florin was a humanist. He enjoyed literature, classical music and searching of original editions of ancient books. He was a talented piano player. His varied interests and warm personality helped to create a pleasant and convivial atmosphere in his laboratory. Florin passed away at Cochin’s hospital in Paris on April 22, 2005.



Document Created: 11 Jun 2020
Last Updated: 11 Jun 2020