Ashkin, Mourou, Strickland win 2018 Nobel Physics Prize

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Three scientists from the United States, Canada and France won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for work with lasers described as revolutionary and bringing science fiction into reality.

Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, is honored for his invention of optical tweezers, a technique which uses focused laser beams to hold and manipulate microscopic objects, including biological samples, as might be done with tweezers. The only other female victor is famed historical physicist Marie Curie.

Ashkin used his new tool to hold a particle in place, then an atom, and eventually, in 1987, a living bacterium. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said past year it would seek to more actively encourage nominations of women researchers to begin addressing the imbalance.

"Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists, because we're out there". The team created ultrashort, high-intensity laser pulses, essentially packing more light than standard lasers in the same tiny space. Among this year's top contenders were scientists who worked on a technology which showcased the development of solar cells based on a class of mineral called perovskites, devices whose performance is on par with that of silicon solar cells, and which are less costly and energy-intensive to produce.

Now she shares the distinction of being one of three women to ever win the Nobel Prize for physics.

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Maybe we won them previous year but it was almost always over the top what we have to do. And even then still not possible to score a goal, but he did because of a ideal finish.

Mourou, 74, now a professor at the École Polytechnique in France, was Strickland's academic advisor at the University of Rochester in NY in the 1980s, where together they created chirped pulse amplification, or CPA. "I thought there might have been more", Strickland responded, sounding surprised. It also found a use in laser therapy targeting cancer and in the millions of corrective laser eye surgeries which are performed each year.

The Nobel Prize will be just the latest accolade Dr Strickland has received for her work. Because laser beams could only be amplified so far before they destroyed the amplifying material, Strickland and Mourou made a decision to first "stretch" out a laser pulse, lowering its peak power by slowing it down.

2012 - Serge Haroche and David J Wineland were awarded the prize for their work with light and matter.

Ashkin, who is Jewish, is the oldest person ever named as a laureate for any of the prestigious Nobel awards.

"The inventions being honoured this year have revolutionised laser physics".

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