The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half to American physicist Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems” and the other half jointly to French physicist Gérard Mourou and Canadian physicist Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses”.
The link to the official Nobel Prize website: https://www.nobelprize.org/
Arthur Ashkin (born September 2, 1922) is an American scientist and Nobel laureate who worked at Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. He started his work on manipulation of microparticles with laser light in the late 1960s which resulted in the invention of optical tweezers in 1986. He also pioneered the optical trapping process that eventually was used to manipulate atoms, molecules, and biological cells. The key phenomenon is the radiation pressure of light; this pressure can be dissected down into optical gradient and scattering forces. Ashkin has been considered by many as the father of the topical field of optical tweezers, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018.
Gérard Albert Mourou (born June 22, 1944) is a French scientist and pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and lasers and Nobel laureate. Along with Donna Strickland, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their co-invention of a technique called chirped pulse amplification, or CPA, which was later used to create ultrashort-pulse, very high-intensity (terawatt) laser pulses. In 1994, Mourou and his team at the University of Michigan discovered that the balance between the self-focusing refraction (see Kerr effect) and self-attenuating diffraction by ionization and rarefaction of a laser beam of terawatt intensities in the atmosphere creates "filaments" which act as waveguides for the beam thus preventing divergence.
Donna Theo Strickland (born May 27, 1959) is a Canadian physicist, academic, and Nobel laureate, who is a pioneer in the field of lasers. She is the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with her former PhD advisor, Gérard Mourou, for their work on laser physics. The technique they developed, called chirped pulse amplification, is used for producing ultrashort pulses of very high intensity, useful in laser micromachining, surgery, medicine, and in fundamental science studies. Up till October 2, 2018, she is an associate professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department of the University of Waterloo.