2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

Gentec-EO is proud to share a great news in the laser physics industry.

The Canadian Donna Strickland, the French Gérard Mourou and the American Arthur Ashkin were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. They will share the 1 Million USD prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in Stockholm. 

Donna Strickland, from University of Waterloo, became the first woman since 1963 to get a Nobel prize in physics for her work by creating the shortest and most intense laser pulses ever made. This technology is what made it possible to manufacture the medium you’re using to read this news! From processors to the LED screens, picosecond lasers and femtosecond lasers are used every day to make these essential commodities, all thanks to this concept coined by Donna Strickland.

The University of Waterloo and the University of Rochester where Donna Strickland first published her work in 1985 as a Ph. D. student on ultra-short laser pulses have a strong history with Gentec-EO products, from our early ED-200 energy meters to today’s most accurate laser measurement devices in the field. In the 70’s, Gentec-EO was the first company to commercialize a laser energy meter, we are proud to be part of this historical moment!

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Gérard Mourou, director of the Laboratoire d’optique appliquée, was also awarded a quarter of the Nobel prize for his research in chirped pulse amplification which he co-signed with Donna Strickland. He’s at the origin of the Institute of Extreme Light and the soon-to-be-completed APOLLON laser near Paris. This APOLLON Laser will go up to 10 Petawatts (that’s 10 Billion Watts!).

He is also involved in the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) in Czechia, Romania and Hungary, where they expect to reach up a combined power over 10 Petawatts. All of these huge lasers are controlled and monitored by hundreds of Gentec-EO energy and power calorimeters with the best accuracy on the planet.

Arthur Ashkin, initially from Bell Labs, wins half of the prize for his demonstration of optical tweezers to use, manipulate and move particles with light. It is a tractor beam-like technology that allows scientists to grab atoms, viruses and bacteria in finger-like laser beams. 

It is without doubt that Strickland, Ashkin and Mourou are finally rewarded for their advances in science. What they did changed the way we look at the world…. even through the screen you’re holding right now!

Gabrielle Thériault
Gabrielle is the marketing manager at Gentec-EO.
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