Physics Nobel goes to 3 laser scientists for tools made of light

02 Octobre, 2018, 15:50 | Auteur: Therese Cote

Three scientists have been awarded the 2018 Nobel prize in physics for their work on high intensity laser pulses.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has today chose to award the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics with one half to Arthur Ashkin for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems and the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.

They include the first female physics prize victor in 55 years.

Together, their achievements mark groundbreaking achievements in the field of laser physics.

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The inventions revolutionized the field, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in its announcement.

"We need to celebrate women physicists because we're out there, and hopefully in time it'll start to move forward at a faster rate. I'm honored to be one of those women", she said.

Ashkin's work was based on the realization that the pressure of a beam of light could push microscopic objects and trap them in position. Born in 1922 in NY, he was the first physicist to observe optical gradient forces on atoms and observe optical trapping of atoms, and the first to perform laser cooling of atoms, known as "optical molasses", according to the Optical Society of America. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Optical tweezers allowing control of tiny living organisms. Gérard Mourou was born in 1944 in Albertville in France. CPA is chirped pulse amplification, a technique for producing incredibly short pulses of laser light of very high intensity. The technique is today used in corrective eye surgery.

"Advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications", the academy said on awarding the nine million Swedish crown ($1 million) prize.

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