Three Scientists win Nobel Physics Prize for inventing Optical Lasers

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded Tuesday

They are Arthur Ashkin, a researcher at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, Gerard Mourou, a professor emeritus both at Ecole Polytechnique in France and the University of MI, and Donna Strickland, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

Half of this year's nine million Swedish kronor ($998,000) prize goes to American physicist Arthur Ashkin for his invention of "optical tweezers", lasers that can probe the machinery of life without causing damage. "So that was my first thought and you do always wonder if it's real", Strickland said during a press briefing this morning at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden.

After winning the award, Donna Strickland said, "We need to celebrate women physicists because they're out there..."

Speaking by phone to the academy, a moved Strickland said she was thrilled to receive the Nobel prize that has been the least accessible for women.

Mr Mourou and Ms Strickland helped develop short and intense laser pulses that have broad industrial and medical applications. They first stretched out the laser pulse in time by several orders of magnitude, thereby reducing their peak power, then passed the stretched pulse through an amplifier, and finally compressed the pulse again in time to produce a short pulse with much enhanced power.

Strickland is the third female physics laureate to win the prize, and the first since Maria Goeppert-Mayer who won 55 years ago for her discoveries about the nuclei of atoms.

A trio of American, French and Canadian scientists won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for breakthroughs in laser technology that have turned light beams into precision tools for everything from eye surgery to micro-machining.

Dr Strickland has said she enjoys the competitive rush of pushing the boundaries of what lasers can do. Then they amplified the signal to the desired level, before compressing it down into an ultrashort, ultrapowerful pulse lasting just a tiny fraction of a second.

Their technique is called chirped pulse amplification (CPA). He was awarded one half of the prize.

Gérard Mourou, one of three scientists to win the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics, is shown during a conference in Paris, France, in 2015.

The inventions by the three scientists date back to the mid-1980s and over the years they have revolutionized laser physics.

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