Dr. Donna Strickland
Professor of Physics & Astronomy
University of Waterloo
Nobel Laureate, Physics 2018
Find out more about Dr. Strickland's scientific journey in the recent U-M News article, "Pushing boundaries: Nobel prize winner on science literacy and lasers."
Dr. Donna Strickland is one of three women to ever win the Nobel Prize in physics. The award was given for co-inventing chirped pulse amplification, a method of generating high-intensity, ultrashort optical pulses. This technique enabled the development of laser-based applications including laser eye surgery and the machining of small glass parts, such as what you find in cell phones.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Seating Begins at 3:00 PM!
Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses
With the invention of lasers, the intensity of a light wave was increased by orders of magnitude over what had been achieved with a light bulb or sunlight. This much higher intensity led to new phenomena being observed, such as violet light coming out when red light went into the material. After Gérard Mourou and I developed chirped pulse amplification, also known as CPA, the intensity again increased by more than a factor of 1,000 and it once again made new types of interactions possible between light and matter. We developed a laser that could deliver short pulses of light that knocked the electrons off their atoms. This new understanding of laser-matter interactions, led to the development of new machining techniques that are used in laser eye surgery or micromachining of glass used in cell phones.
Biographical Sketch for Professor Donna Strickland
Dr. Donna Strickland is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for co-inventing Chirped Pulse Amplification with Dr. Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time of the discovery. She earned her PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and her B. Eng. from McMaster University. Dr. Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She served as the president of the Optical Society (OSA) in 2013 and is an OSA Fellow and an SPIE Fellow.