Krausz is director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching.
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier for their research in the field of electron dynamics, as announced by the responsible committee at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Agostini works at France’s Aix-Marseille University, L’Huillier at Sweden’s University of Lund. The Austro-Hungarian physicist Krausz conducts research at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and is director of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching.
Research in the attosecond range
Specifically, the award is about “experimental methods for generating attosecond light pulses for the study of electron dynamics in matter.” The researchers generated attosecond light pulses that are short enough to take snapshots of the extremely fast movements of the electrons, the academy said.
L’Huillier discovered a new effect through the interaction of laser light with atoms in a gas. Agostini and Krausz showed that this effect could be used to produce shorter flashes of light than was previously possible.
An attosecond is one billionth of a billionth of a second – this corresponds to the ratio of one second to the age of the universe.
Call during a course
Prize winner L’Huillier received the famous call from Stockholm during a course. “I taught,” said the French nuclear physicist when asked where she was reached to tell her about the award shortly before the announcement. She was only able to answer the call on the third or fourth attempt during a break. The last one After half an hour of her lecture it was “a little difficult,” she said when she was connected by telephone to the award announcement in Stockholm.
The Nobel Prize means a lot to her, said L’Huillier. “This is the most prestigious award and I’m so happy about it. Not that many women receive this award. It’s very, very special.
Successor to Einstein and Curie
The Nobel Prize is endowed with eleven million Swedish crowns (around 950,000 euros) and is internationally considered one of the most important scientific awards. Last year, the French physicist Alain Aspect, the American experimental physicist John Clauser and the Austrian quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in the field of quantum mechanics.
The best-known recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics are Albert Einstein, who received it in 1921 for his work on the photoelectric effect, and Marie Curie, who received the prize in 1903 for her work on radioactive radiation.