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Laser pioneer Federico Capasso awarded Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis
Date:7/6/2010

Cambridge, Mass., July 9, 2010 Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been awarded the 2010 Berthold Leibinger Zukunftspreis (the future prize), an international award for excellent research on the application or generation of laser light.

The prize, consisting of 30,000, will be presented during ceremony held in Ditingen, Germany on July 9, 2010. As part of the celebrations Professor Theodor W. Hnsch, co-winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, will give a laudatory address of Capasso's contributions.

Past recipients of the honor include Xiaoliang Sunney Xie of Harvard (2008) and H. Jeffrey Kimble of the California Institute of Technology (2006).

The jury cited Capasso's contributions "to laser technology with [his] research on the quantum cascade laser."

Quantum cascade (QC) lasers were invented and first demonstrated by Capasso and his group at Bell Labs in 1994. By varying the thickness of the layers scientists can select the wavelength at which a QC laser will emit light, custom designing it for a specific application.

The range of applications of QC laser based chemical sensors is very broad, including pollution monitoring, medical diagnostics such as breath analysis, and applications for homeland security. Since joining Harvard in 2003 Capasso and his group have continued to advance the state-of-the art of QCLs by achieving major milestones such as high power continuous wave lasers for deflecting heat-seeking missiles, miniature laser spectrometers on a chip for the fast and ultrasensitive detection of an enormous number of trace gases and laser that emit multiple highly collimated beams in different directions.

Capasso received the doctor of Physics degree,
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Contact: Michael Patrick Rutter
mrutter@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-3815
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

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