The 2022 Wolf Prize in Physics

The 2022 Wolf Prize in Physics

  • Posted by Grant Holder Manager
  • On 23 February 2022

The 2022 Wolf Prize in Physics was awarded to Anne L’Huillier, Ferenc Krausz and Paul Corkum “for pioneering contributions to ultrafast laser science and attosecond physics.”

“Anne L’Huillier, Paul Corkum, and Ferenc Krausz share the 2022 Wolf Prize in Physics for pioneering and novel work in the fields of ultrafast laser science and attosecond physics and for demonstrating time-resolved imaging of electron motion in atoms, molecules, and solids. Each of them made crucial contributions, both to the technical development of attosecond physics and to its application to fundamental physics studies.”

Anne L’Huillier is a Swedish-French physicist and professor of atomic physics at Lund University, working on the interaction between short and intense laser pulses and atoms. Professor L’Huillier’s research advanced the understanding of the dynamics of electrons within atomic systems. Anne L’Huillier was among the firsts to experimentally demonstrate high harmonic generation, which is the process by which attosecond pulses form, and contributed significantly to the development of a proper theoretical description of the process. She also performed a number of seminal experiments to improve the understanding of the underlying process and was a key player in the formation of the new attosecond science research field.

Ferenc Krausz is a Hungarian-Austrian physicist whose research team was the first to generate and measure attosecond light pulses and used them to capture electron motion inside atoms. He was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant in 2010 to carry out a 5-year research project on “4D imaging of fundamental processes on the atomic and sub-atomic scale.” Professor Krausz works at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Krausz showed that the harmonic pulses have durations in the attosecond range. He also contributed to the generation of few-cycle laser pulses and the study of the time dependence of numerous atomic and molecular physics processes. He realized the feasibility of experiments with time resolution in the attosecond range. This has allowed the study of photoionization in the time-domain and evidenced Wigner-like time delays in the photoemission of electrons from atoms or molecules.

Paul Corkum is a Canadian physicist, leader and pioneer in the field of ultrafast laser spectroscopy. For three decades he has been a major source of insight regarding the great potential of this field. He is known primarily for his remarkable contributions to the field of high harmonic generation and for proposing intuitive models which helped to explain the complex phenomena associated with attosecond spectroscopy. Corkum established the understanding of high harmonic generation through his semiclassical re-collision model that underlies the formation of attosecond pulses. Under the influence of a strong laser field, an electron can tunnel ionize from an atomic or a molecular potential, accelerated, and then recombine, emitting high-order harmonics. The emitted harmonic spectrum is sensitive to the evolution in time of the atomic or molecular structure. The so-called high harmonic spectroscopy allowed him to demonstrate the feasibility to image a molecular orbital via a tomographic reconstruction procedure.

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