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The Nobel Prize in Physics 2023

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2023 to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.

The three Laureates are being recognised for their experiments, which have given humanity new tools for exploring the world of electrons inside atoms and molecules. They have demonstrated a way to create extremely short pulses of light that can be used to measure the rapid processes in which electrons move or change energy.

Their contributions have enabled the investigation of processes that are so rapid they were previously impossible to follow, writes the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

“We can now open the door to the world of electrons. Attosecond physics gives us the opportunity to understand mechanisms that are governed by electrons. The next step will be utilising them,” says Eva Olsson, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.

Medical diagnostics

There are potential applications in many different areas. In electronics, for example, it is important to understand and control how electrons behave in a material. Attosecond pulses can also be used to identify different molecules, such as in medical diagnostics.

 

Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier. Illustration: Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach

 

The Laureates

Pierre Agostini. PhD 1968 from Aix-Marseille University, France. Professor at The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA.

Ferenc Krausz, born 1962 in Mór, Hungary. PhD 1991 from Vienna University of Technology, Austria. Director at Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching and Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.

Anne L’Huillier, born 1958 in Paris, France. PhD 1986 from University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France. Professor at Lund University, Sweden.

Featured illustration: © Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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