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03 October 2023

Three Optica Fellows awarded 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics for experimental methods enabling attosecond physics

Optica congratulates Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier

Electrons move across atomic scales in attoseconds—one billionth of a billionth of a second. Peering into the world of electrons requires pulses of light at the same ultra-fast scale. Optica Fellows Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L’Huillier have each contributed to developing ways to create attosecond pulses of light, providing a new view into the behavior of electrons.

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, congratulates Agostini (Ohio State University), Krausz (Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) and L’Huillier (Lund University), who were today awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics. They are each awarded one-third of the prize “for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.” L’Huillier is the fifth woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics.

“Drs. Agostini, Krausz and L’Huillier have pushed the limits of what’s possible through light,” said Michal Lipson, 2023 Optica President and Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. “Agostini, Krausz and L’Huillier have each made remarkable contributions to our ability to harness super-fast pulses of light, giving us the power to study and manipulate electrons. This is potentially world-changing technology, and we congratulate these Optica Fellows for their well-deserved recognition.”

Pierre Agostini is an Emeritus Professor at the Ohio State University, where he leads a research group that continues to delve into ultra-fast atomic physics. He earned his doctoral degree from Université Aix-Marseille in 1968, then becoming a researcher at CEA Saclay, the French Atomic Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. It was there in 2001 that he created a “pulse train” technique, building on previous work from L’Huillier, resulting in a series of consecutive laser pulses of 250 attoseconds. He has received the Joop Los Award from FOM Netherlands, Optica’s William F. Meggers Award in 2007 and is a Humboldt Fellow. He was elected a Fellow of Optica in 2008.

Ferenc Krausz is Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and Professor of Experimental Physics at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He received his doctorate in 1991 from Vienna University of Technology, where he would later become a Professor of Electrical Engineering. In 2001, the same year Agostini conducted his light pulse experiments, Krausz and his team became the first to produce and isolate a single light pulse, lasting 650 attoseconds. He has received numerous awards, including the 2022 Wolf Prize alongside L’Huillier, and was elected a Fellow of Optica in 2009.

Anne L’Huillier is a professor of atomic physics at Lund University in Sweden. In 1987, she became one of first researchers to see the potential to use the extreme ultraviolet pulses that are generated through high harmonic generation to produce even shorter pulses at the attosecond scale. She is a Fellow of Optica and APS, and has received many awards for her work in ultra-fast physics, including Optica’s 2021 Max Born Award, the 2022 Wolf Prize, and the 2023 Leibinger Award. She give a Plenary lecture at the 2021 Frontiers in Optics meeting, which is available here.

Select Relevant Papers Available from Optica Publishing Group

The three Nobel Laureates have published papers with Optica Publishing Group. A selection of their papers related to their work recognized by the Nobel Prize is included below.

Pierre Agostini:

High-power few-cycle Cr:ZnSe mid-infrared source for attosecond soft x-ray physics

Leshchenko, Vyacheslav E.; Talbert, Bradford K.; Lai, Yu Hang; Li, Sha; Tang, Yaguo; Hageman, Stephen J.; Smith, Greg; Agostini, Pierre; DiMauro, Louis F.; Blaga, Cosmin. Optica 7(8) 981-988 (2020).  

Sub-two-cycle gigawatt-peak-power LWIR OPA for ultrafast nonlinear spectroscopy of condensed state materials

Leshchenko, Vyacheslav; Li, Sha; Agostini, Pierre; DiMauro, Louis F. Optics Letters 48(19) 4949-4952 (2023)

Ferenc Krausz:

Generation of sub-three-cycle, 16 TW light pulses by using noncollinear optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification

Herrmann, Daniel; Veisz, Laszlo; Tautz, Raphael; Tavella, Franz; Schmid, Karl; Pervak, Vladimir; Krausz, Ferenc. Optics Letters 34(16) 2459-246 (2009).

Anne L’Huillier:

Two phase-matching regimes in high-order harmonic generation

Appi, E.; Weissenbilder, R.; Nagyillés, B.; Diveki, Z.; Peschel, J.; Farkas, B.; Plach, M.; Vismarra, F.; Poulain, V.; Weber, N.; Arnold, C. L.; Varjú, K.; Kahaly, S.; Eng-Johnsson, P.; L’Huillier, A. Optics Express 31(20) 31687-31697 (2023).

High-speed carrier-envelope phase drift detection of amplified laser pulses

Fordell, T.; Miranda, M.; Arnold, C. L.; L’Huillier, A. Optics Express 19(24) 23652-23657 (2011).  


About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

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