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PERSPECTIVE

Nobel physics laureate Gérard Mourou on revolutionising laser eye surgery

FRANCE 24 speaks to Gérard Mourou, one of the laureates of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. Mourou and his colleague, Canadian Donna Strickland, were awarded the prestigious prize for their groundbreaking work on laser technology. They developed chirped pulse amplification - or CPA, as it is technically known – back in the 1980s. The technique has since revolutionised laser eye surgery.

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By stretching out a light beam, Mourou and Strickland reduced its intensity, enabling them to manipulate the components and harness a maximum of energy that they then compressed into a powerful pulse.

Today, this technology is used by millions of people in laser eye surgery every year. But it was actually discovered by accident. Gérard Mourou tells us that shortly after his team had made these new lasers, a student was adjusting them when he got a laser in his eye. When they took him to hospital, the surgeon examining it asked them what kind of laser it was because the damage was perfect: perfectly round, with no collateral damage.

>> On France24.com: American, French and Canadian scientists win Nobel Prize for work on laser physics

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