Nobel Prize in Physics for Agostini, Krausz and L'Huillier for the study of electrons

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The French Pierre Agostinithe Austrian-Hungarian Ferenc Krausz and the Franco-Swedish Anne L'Huillier won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for creating tools to study the ultrafast movement of electrons within atoms and molecules.

The atomic physicists were distinguished "for experimental methods that generate attosecond light pulses for the study of electron dynamics in matter," the jury explained.

He attosecond It is to the second what the second represents with respect to 30,000 million years.

An attosecond is so short that there are as many in a second as there have been seconds since the birth of the universe," exemplified the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The jury praised the winners for "creating extremely short pulses of light that can be used to measure the rapid processes in which electrons move or change energy."

The contributions of the laureates have allowed the investigation of processes that are so fast that they were previously impossible to follow" and the identification of "different molecules, for example in medical diagnoses," he added.

Professor at the Lund University of SwedenAnne L'Huillier, 65, became the fifth woman to win in this category since the awards were created in 1901.

In front of the Academy headquarters in Stockholm, he explained that he received the call from the jury in the middle of a class and that afterwards "it was difficult" to finish it.

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"I'm very excited (...) There aren't many women who get this award, so it's very, very special," L'Huillier said.

The scientist joins Marie Curie (1903), Maria Goeppert Mayer (1963), Donna Strickland (2018) and Andrea Ghez (2020) in the select group of women winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

For his part, Pierre Agostini is a professor at Ohio State University in the United States, while Ferenc Krausz He is director of the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

"Waves of water"

L'Huillier He explained that his studies, in addition to analyzing electrons, had specific applications in the semiconductor industry and imaging techniques.

Regarding the study of these particles, he said that "in this type of process, the electrons are more like waves, like waves of water, and what we are trying to measure with our technique is the position of the crest of the wave."

This scientist was already among the favorites for the award after winning the prestigious Wolf Prize in 2022, often a precursor to the Nobel Prize, along with Krausz and the Canadian Paul Corkum.

Last year, the Swedish Academy rewarded the Frenchman Alain Aspectto the American John Clauser and the Austrian Anton Zeilinger, pioneers in the revolutionary mechanisms of quantum physics.

The announcement season Nobel Prize will continue with Chemistry on Wednesdaythat of Literature on Thursday and that of the Peace on Friday, from Oslo. On Monday, October 9, the Economics award will be unveiled, the last to be created.

The winners of this edition will receive a prize of eleven million crowns (almost $994,000), which is the largest amount (in Swedish currency) in the more than centenary history of these awards.

The awards will be presented by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of Alfred Nobel, who created these awards in his last wishes. The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in Oslo.

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