STOCKHOLM, Oct. 2 (SEE) – The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded on Tuesday the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half to Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems”
While the other half was jointly granted to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.”
The inventions being honored this year have revolutionized laser physics. Extremely small objects and incredibly fast processes now appear in a new light.
Not only physics, but also chemistry, biology and medicine have gained precision instruments for use in basic research and practical applications.
Ashkin invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms and molecules with their laser beam fingers. Viruses, bacteria and other living cells can be held too, and examined and manipulated without being damaged.
Ashkin’s optical tweezers have created entirely new opportunities for observing and controlling the machinery of life.
Mourou and Strickland paved the way towards the shortest and most intense laser pulses created by mankind.
The technique they developed has opened up new areas of research and led to broad industrial and medical applications; for example, millions of eye operations are performed every year with the sharpest of laser beams.