University of Waterloo
From Nonlinear Optics to High-Intensity Laser Physics
The laser increased the intensity of light that can be generated by orders of magnitude
and thus brought about nonlinear optical interactions with matter. Chirped pulse
amplification, also known as CPA, changed the intensity level by a few more orders of
magnitude and helped usher in a new type of laser-matter interaction that is referred to
as high-intensity laser physics. In this talk, I will discuss the differences between
nonlinear optics and high-intensity laser physics. The development of CPA and why
short, intense laser pulses can cut transparent material will also be included. I will also
discuss future applications.
About the Speaker
Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester.
Strickland earned a B.Eng. from McMaster University and a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester. 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.
Strickland served as the president of Optica in 2013 and is a fellow of Optica, SPIE, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society. She is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics and an international member of the US National Academy of Science. Strickland was named a Companion of the Order of Canada.