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Let there be light - THE HINDU SUMMARY

  • Anne L’Huillier, Pierre Agostini, and Ferenc Krausz have won the 2023 Physics Nobel Prize for building tools to study the rapid changes in the observable properties of electrons in matter.

  • Dr L’Huillier's studies in the late 1980s found that an infrared beam shone on a noble gas produced multiple overtones, and they explained this phenomenon using the laws of quantum mechanics.


  • The reinforcing effect of the overtones could be timed to emit intense peaks with a pulse duration of a few attoseconds.

  • Dr Agostini and his team demonstrated this in 2001 by producing light with a pulse duration of 250 attoseconds.

  • In the same year, Dr. Krausz and his team isolated a single pulse, 650 attoseconds in duration, and used it to measure the kinetic energy of electrons kicked out from krypton atoms.

  • This research marked the arrival of attosecond physics.

  • The medicine Nobel Prize this year celebrated the invention of mRNA vaccines and their effect on the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The invention of mRNA vaccines has had a straightforward utility for people.

  • Attosecond physics, on the other hand, has potential value in various fields such as biochemistry, diagnostics, superconductivity, and manufacturing techniques.

  • The laureates' work in attosecond physics has allowed scientists to discover phenomena that occur in attoseconds.

  • The value of a particular discovery or invention may not be immediately apparent, but it can have unforeseen applications in the future.

  • The 2016 chemistry laureates were recognized for building motors with individual molecules, which had no known applications at the time.

  • However, the techniques developed for this feat improved other areas of chemistry.

  • The importance lies in making something difficult to do before easier, and the excitement of discovering its potential applications.


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