Home» News» News» Focus»

Gérard Mourou, 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics, lectures at Peking University

OCT . 17 2018
Peking University, Oct. 16, 2018: Professor Gérard Mourou, the 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics, gave a talk “Extreme Light to ELI and Beyond: Science of High-Energy Single-Cycled Lasers ” at Peking University on October 16, as Lecture 21 of the “Centennial Physics Lecture at PKU” series. Co-organized by the School of Physics and the Office of International Relations, the lecture was jointly held by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and Peking University.

Upon arrival,  Mourou was warmly welcomed by Professor Lin Jianhua, president of Peking University, at the Yingjie Overseas  Exchange Center. Before the lecture, Professor Gong Qihuang, vice  president of Peking University, presented Gérard Mourou the “Centennial Physics Lecture” Medal and appreciated him for coming.

Mourou started the lecture with an introduction to chirped pulse amplification (CPA) technique. As he explained, this technique rendered possible the amplification of short laser pulses (a few dozen femtosecond; 1fs=10-15s) up to extremely high peak powers, equal to a petawatt (1PW=1015W) or even more. Also mentioned in the lecture, through a collaboration with Compact Laser Plasma Accelerator  (CLAPA) at Peking University,  professor Mourou’s team already found a new way to accelerate proton, i.e single-cycle laser acceleration (SCLA). In comparison to existing methods, this approach can promote the efficiency of acceleration by 3 to 4 times. Mourou anticipated that this research might be the key to opening up yet a new world of ultrafast optics. In the end, Mourou shared his confidence in the prospect of high-power laser science. As he pointed out, “the best is yet to come”.

After the lecture, Mourou  answered technical questions raised by the curious audience. He was amazed by the enthusiasm of students at Peking University and expressed his confidence for scientific prospects in China. He told the reporters from China Global Television Network (CGTN ) that “China is beyond my expectations”.

Since more than thirty years ago, the invention of CPA technique has brought Gérard Mourou and his student Donna Strickland tremendous honor in laser science. This “method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses” has launched a new era of ultrafast optics and finally won them the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. At the age of 74, Mourou still remains active at the frontier of research. He is currently the field director of the International Center for Zetta-Exawatt Science and Technology (IZEST), hoping to promote laser physics to a higher level.

Written by: Ouyang Xiaoyi
Edited by: Yan Shengnan