American, Frenchman, Canadian win Nobel for work with lasers

02 October, 2018, 21:56 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Trio Win Nobel Physics Prize For Work On Laser Physics

This year's Nobel Prize for Physics is to be shared by three scientists for their groundbreaking work on lasers.

Strickland and Mourou will share the other half, after they were singled out for helping develop laser pulses that can be applied to a broad range of industrial and medical devices.

Strickland, of the University of Waterloo, Canada, becomes only the third woman to win a Nobel prize for physics.

The awarding of the prize to Ms Strickland ended a drought for women winning any of the prestigious prizes. "I'm honored to be one of those women", she said.

The tweezers are "extremely important for measuring small forces on individual molecules, small objects, and this has been very interesting in biology, to understand how things like muscle tissue work, what are the molecule motors behind the muscle tissue", said David Haviland of the academy's Nobel committee.

Her former PhD adviser, Dr Mourou, said he found it hard to describe his emotions at winning the Nobel Prize.

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Strickland had became attracted to laser physics for not only scientific but also aesthetic reasons: She noticed the green and red beams that shone throughout Mourou's lab like a Christmas tree. Ashkin always had a dream: Imagine if beams of light could be put to work and made to move objects.

The three scientists have been awarded for advances in laser physics.

Mourou and Strickland's CPA method has been used to help millions of people with laser eye surgery, and the cameras that use their technology can capture chemical interactions or even electrons in motion around an atom. In research that would be used for Strickland's doctoral thesis, the pair manipulated beams of light to make them more powerful. The team created ultrashort, high-intensity laser pulses, essentially packing more light than standard lasers in the same tiny space. Although Ashkin, in the mid 1980s, originally meant to use the technique to manipulate atoms, he soon moved onto larger particles and then biological objects, including viruses and living cells.

Around the same time, Mourou and Strickland were working together at the University of Rochester to overcome a problem that had dogged laser research for decades: High intense laser beams tended to destroy the material used to amplify them.

Nobel physics laureate Gerard Mourou says he finds it hard to describe his emotions at winning.

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