Erik Kerstel received the M.Sc. degree in Engineering Physics cum laude from the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, and the Ph.D. degree in chemical physics from Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. He is a Professor of Physics at the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Physics, University of Grenoble Alps, France, and the Director of Science and Educational Affairs of the Grenoble University Space Center (CSUG). He is the PI of the NanoBob CubeSat mission that aims to demonstrate Quantum Key Distribution in space using entangled photons; a collaborative project of which the CSUG and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna are the two principal partners.
After a post-doc at the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS) in Florence, Italy, he joined the University of Groningen in The Netherlands in 1995, where he started applying spectroscopy to environmental issues. He was awarded a 5-year Young Investigator Fellowship of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) for pioneering work on laser-based stable isotope ratio measurements. His laboratory demonstrated applications of the technique in the fields of biomedicine, ice core research, and airborne atmospheric research, including flights of miniaturized water isotope spectrometers on stratospheric aircraft. In Grenoble since 2009, his research interests are in the applications of ultra-sensitive optical sensing and quantum optical techniques.