What are Nobel Prize winning physicists' inventions?
Stockholm, Oct 2: US scientist Arthur Ashkin (96), Gérard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems."
Ashkin's optical tweezers grab particles, atoms and molecules with their laser beam fingers. They can examine and manipulate viruses, bacteria and other living cells without damaging them. New opportunities for observing and controlling the machinery of life have been created.
According to the Nobel committee, science fiction has become a reality. Optical tweezers make it possible to observe, turn, cut, push and pull with light. In many laboratories, laser tweezers are used to study biological processes, such as proteins, molecular motors, DNA or the inner life of cells.
Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada have been awarded the Nobel in Physics "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses." They paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses created by humankind. The technique they developed opened up new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications.
Mourou and Strickland's technique is known as Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) in which a short laser pulse can be stretched in time, amplified and squeezed together again.
This year's Nobel Prize inventions revolutionised laser physics. Extremely small objects and incredibly fast processes now appear in a new light. Advanced precision instruments are opening up unexplored areas of research and a multitude of industrial and medical applications.
Arthur Ashkin, awarded the 2018 #NobelPrize, had a dream: imagine if beams of light could be put to work and made to move objects. He realised his dream by creating a light trap, which became known as optical tweezers. pic.twitter.com/6W6juINq5f— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 2, 2018