The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz, and Anne L’Huillier “for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electro dynamics in matter”, The Royal Swedish Academy of Science announced on October 3, 2023.
The three Nobel Laureates in Physics 2023 are being recognised for their experiments, which have given humanity new tools for exploring the world of electrons inside atoms and molecules. Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier 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, the press release said.
Their experiments granted the Laureates to observe extremely brief events that transpire in a few tenths of attoseconds—a quintillionth (10−18) of a second. An attosecond is so short that there are as many in one second as there have been seconds since the birth of the universe.
This brief pulses of light can be used to provide images of what occurs inside atoms and molecules.
The research conducted by the Laureates over a span of several decades allowed them to investigate processes that were so rapid that they were previously impossible to follow. This new technology is important to understand and control how electrons behave in a material.
Last year, The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their work on quantum mechanics, the academy announced the winners on October 4, 2022. The award was given for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities, and pioneering quantum information science..
The physics prize comes a day after Hungarian-American Katalin Karikó and American Drew Weissman won the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries that enabled the creation of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.
On October 4, Nobel Chemistry Prize will be announced followed by the Literature price on October 5.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award on October 9.
The prizes carry a cash award of 11 million Swedish kronor ($1 million) drawn from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896. The prize money was raised by 1 million kronor this year because of the plunging value of the Swedish currency.
The laureates are invited to receive their awards at ceremonies on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. The prestigious peace prize is handed out in Oslo, according to his wishes, while the other award ceremony is held in Stockholm.
(With inputs from AP)