The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Kraus, and Anne L’Huyghe for their experimental methods that create attosecond pulses of light to study the dynamics of electrons in matter.
The contribution of the laureates has made it possible to study processes that are so fast that they were previously impossible to study.
The creation of extremely short pulses of light will be used to measure fast processes in which electrons move or change energy.
“We can now open the door to the world of electrons. Attosecond physics gives us the opportunity to understand mechanisms that are governed by electrons. The next step will be utilising them,” says Eva Olsson, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.
The study of electrons inside atoms and molecules has potential in many areas. In electronics, for example, it is important to understand and control how electrons behave in a material. Attosecond pulses can also be used to identify different molecules, for example, in medical diagnostics.