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The 2005 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics

Awarded January 5, 2005, at the 35th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics.

Szymon Suckewer, Princeton University

For outstanding contributions to laser science especially the development of the X-ray laser.


Prof. Szymon Suckewer joined Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory in 1975, working on spectroscopic diagnostics of high temperature plasma and began developing his idea about the recombination x-ray laser. In 1987, he joined the MAE Department of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as a full professor.

Following calculations on gain generation at 18.2 nm in magnetically confined hydrogen-like carbon ions in 1979, he organized a small research group which included physicist Charles Skinner and two graduate students, Howard Milchberg and Chris Keane, with whom he put together a system consisting of an unused CO2 laser (1 kJ, 75 nsec) and a 100 kG magnet. Lasing at 18.2 nm was achieved in the Fall of 1984, and by the Spring of 1985 reached an energy of 3 mJ per pulse at a repetition time of 3 minutes with beam divergence of 5 mrad.

In 1985, Suckewer recognized the necessity of using ultrashort pumping pulses of high intensity for much shorter wavelengths X-ray lasers. As a result, he expanded his group in order to develop an ultrashort pulse KrF laser. The device was completed in 1987 and generated an intensity of 2 x 10^18 Watts per square centimeter. This device was used to generate lasing at 13.5 nm in Li III ions in transition to the ground state.

Presently, Prof. Suckewer and his group are developing a powerful femtosecond laser based on Raman amplification and compression in plasma for X-ray laser development at 3 - 4 nm.

Bio provided by Prof. Suckewer, 2005.

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