OTTAWA, September 17, 2013 — Although photonics and photography may sound the same, you wouldn’t expect an expert in one to win a prize in the other. However, the Royal Photographic Society has bestowed the Progress Medal on none other than University of Ottawa and National Research Council of Canada (NRC) researcher Paul Corkum.
Professor Corkum has won international acclaim for his work in attosecond imaging and was the first to capture the image of an electron, one of the smallest bits of matter in the universe, orbiting a molecule by using extremely fast pulses of light—as fast as 200 attoseconds (200/1,000,000,000,000,000,000 sec.).
Attosecond pulses allow scientists to see chemical reactions as they occur by capturing the incredibly fast motion of electrons in atoms and molecules in a “movie” whose time resolution can be measured in attoseconds. This pioneering research does more than open a new door to studying matter—it offers a new way to control matter on a molecular scale. In the burgeoning world of nanotechnology, the possibilities are endless.
This ground-breaking work is part of a strategic collaboration between the University of Ottawa and the NRC to jointly pursue research and development in the emerging field of ultra-fast photonics technology. Dr. Corkum directs the NRC-uOttawa Joint Attosecond Science Laboratory (JASLab) at the NRC facilities on Sussex Drive in Ottawa.
Instituted in 1878, the Progress Medal is awarded in recognition of any invention, research, publication or other contribution that has resulted in an important advance in the scientific or technological development of photography or imaging in the widest sense. The recipient of this award is also inducted as an Honorary Fellow in the Society.
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