Zouheir SEKKAT

Zouheir SEKKAT was elected as an AAS Fellow in 2019. As a fellow, Zouheir SEKKAT contributes to the development of the Academy’s strategic direction through participation in AAS activities and governance structures. . This gears the Academys vision of transforming african lives through science.

Year elected
Physical Sciences

Zouheir Sekkat is Professor at the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Sciences of Mohammed V University in Rabat (UM5R), and the director of the Optics and Photonics Centre of the Moroccan Foundation for Science, Innovation and Research (MAScIR), and a full professor of the Department of Applied Physics of Osaka University (Handai) by the cross-appointment program between Handai and UM5R. Sekkat completed his Master, in 1988, and PhD, in 1992, and Habilitation, in 1998, degrees, all from Paris-Sud University, Orsay. Sekkat did postdoctoral research stays at the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Germany, and in the US jointly between the University of California-Davis and IBM Almaden at San Jose, and Stanford University. In 1999 Zouheir Sekkat joined Handai as an Associate Professor of Applied Physics. Sekkat organized several conferences in photonics, and gave keynote and invited talks in many conferences around the world. He is now the chair of Molecular and Nano Machines as a part of SPIE Optics and Photonics in San Diego, USA. Sekkat received several prizes and recognitions, including nomination as one of the first members of the Hassan 2 academy of sciences and technology, Morocco, and the Elsevier prize for the most cited paper of Morocco, and the distinction prize of the Moroccan ministry of research. He is 2020 SPIE Fellow member; and Senior member of OSA since 2016; and vice-chair of the African Laser Center; he served as member of the international Council of OSA (2010-2012); he served at SPIE as Conference Committee and Sessions Chair; he organized a conference in 2014 in Morocco with participation of 36 African countries to promote optics and photonics in Africa; he organized events and participated to meetings in Morocco for the International Year of Light 2015; as well as many other activities in optics and photonics. Regarding capacity bulding in Africa: Sekkat, conceived and built the Optics and Photonics center in Morocco; deveopped related activities, including training of young scientists (PhDs and PostDocs), and networking with Africa, Europe, US, and Japan. Sekkat returned to Africa, after several education and professional stays in Europe, France and Germany, US and Japan, and took the challenging task to develop Optics and Photonics in this area of the world. The impact of Sekkat on the community is two-folds: in science, his research led to a new field of research interfacing nonlinear optics and photochemistry; and his pioneering activities in Optics and photonics in Africa, especially, Morocco, including capacity building; e.g. infrastutructure and programs and education. Sekkat made seminal contributions to light-induced molecular orientation in polymers, and to interfacing nonlinear optics with photochemistry; i.e. photo-induced second and third order nonlinear optical phenomena.  He made seminal contributions to the field of optically assisted poling of photonic polymers that is caused by photo-induced molecular movement below the glass transition temperature of the polymer by photoisomerization.  Also, he developed the theories of light-induced both polar and nonpolar orientation as well as manipulation of second-and third order optical nonlinearities in NLO polymers. More recently he contributed, in the field of plasmonics; i.e. coupled surface plasmons and waveguides, at a pioneering level to the prediction and observation of Fano resonances in layered media. A strong indication of the impact of his research is the ISI citations to his work. Total citations: ~ 4200; h-index: 34; and 165 publications with the top 5 most cited papers: 472, 295, 257, 220, 187 citations.