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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future A Nobel Prizes Awarded in AMO Science Since 1964 1964 Nicolai Gennediyevich Basov Nationality: Soviet Area of concentration: Quantum electronics Basov played an essential role in the invention of quantum microwave amplification devices (masers) and light amplifiers (lasers), which operate on the principle of stimulated emission of radiation. He collaborated with Aleksandr Prokhorov, with whom he shared the Nobel Prize, to produce the first Soviet maser and did pioneering work on the use of semiconductors in lasers. Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov Nationality: Soviet Areas of concentration: Quantum radiophysics and quantum electronics The independent research of Prokhorov and Nicolai Basov in the Soviet Union and Charles Townes in the United States on stimulated emission of radiation in the microwave and optical regions of the spectrum led to the development of masers and lasers.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Charles H. Townes Nationality: American Area of concentration: Quantum electronics Townes's invention of the maser was a result of his investigation into the means of using stimulated emission of atoms for amplification of microwaves. An essential ingredient of Townes's discovery was the creation of an inverted population of atoms. 1966 Alfred Kastler Nationality: French Areas of concentration: Optical spectroscopy and Hertzian resonances Kastler's discovery in 1950 of double resonance and his combining of this method in 1952 with the technique of optical pumping resulted in new knowledge of atomic structure and led to the development of masers and lasers between 1952 and 1958 by Townes in the United States and Prokhorov and Basov in the Soviet Union. Robert S. Mulliken Nationality: American Area of concentration: Structural chemistry Through the application of quantum mechanics, Mulliken developed the theory of molecular orbitals, which provided new insight into the structure of the chemical bond. He also studied molecular spectra and isotope separation. 1967 Ronald G.W. Norrish Nationality: British Areas of concentration: Photochemistry and reaction kinetics Norrish contributed much to the maturation of the field of photochemistry and to the study of the kinetics of very fast chemical reactions. In the development of the technique of flash photolysis, he added immeasurably to the understanding of processes as diverse as polymerization and combustion. Laser spectroscopy
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future methods based on this phenomenon can be applied to numerous other fields of physics and chemistry. George Porter Nationality: British Areas of concentration: Photochemistry and reaction kinetics Porter developed and refined flash photolysis, which offers a means of measuring extremely fast chemical reactions. This technique has proved valuable in studying a wide variety of important reactions throughout chemistry. 1971 Dennis Gabor Nationality: British Areas of concentration: Electron optics and holography Gabor was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the principles underlying the science of holography. While his fundamental studies in the optics of holography were completed in the late 1940s, Gabor was unable to realize the potential of his theoretical work until after the invention of the laser in 1960. Gerhard Herzberg Nationality: Canadian Areas of concentration: Molecular spectroscopy and structure determination Herzberg was a leader in molecular spectroscopy, a method of study that can identify molecules and provide precise information on their electronic structure and motions. He performed pioneering work with free radicals, the highly reactive molecular fragments that occur as intermediates in chemical reactions. 1976 William N. Lipscomb, Jr. Nationality: American Areas of concentration: Borane chemistry and X-ray crystallography Lipscomb, through skillful experiments and exacting calculations, delineated and organized the chemistry of boron-hydrogen compounds (boranes). His
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future work on boranes is unique in its depth and scope and reveals new aspects of chemical bonding, molecular structure, and chemical reactivity that have general applicability. 1981 Nicolaas Bloembergen Nationality: American Areas of concentration: Optics and quantum electronics Bloembergen's formulation of a general theory to explain the response of matter to intense laser light led to his development of the new field of nonlinear optical laser spectroscopy. Methods based on this phenomenon can be applied to numerous other fields of physics and chemistry Kenichi Fukui Nationality: Japanese Areas of concentration: Electronic structure and organic reactions Fukui discovered that of the many electronic orbitals involved in molecular structure, only those of the highest energy dominate the reaction. Fukui found that these frontier orbitals could account for many organic reactions not otherwise understood. Roald Hoffmann Nationality: American Area of concentration: Electronic structure of compounds Hoffmann recognized the importance of both the energy and the symmetry of electronic orbitals in chemical reactions. His development of the theory of orbital symmetry has become an exceedingly practical instrument for a wide variety of chemical syntheses. Arthur L. Schawlow Nationality: American Areas of concentration: Optics and laser spectroscopy Schawlow's discovery of new techniques in high-resolution laser spectroscopy opened a new era in atomic and nuclear physics by making it possible to study optical transitions with a resolution limited only by their natural line widths.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Kai M.B. Siegbahn Nationality: Swedish Area of concentration: Chemical physics Siegbahn investigated and elucidated the binding energies of atomic electrons by dislodging the electrons with soft X-rays, developing a highly sensitive technique called electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis, or ESCA. 1986 Dudley R. Herschbach Nationality: American Area of concentration: Molecular reaction dynamics Herschbach was one of a group of physical chemists who were the prime movers in the development of molecular beam machines. In part through his efforts, the molecular beam technique moved from early experiments using limited types of atoms to a modern technique capable of using any molecule. He was also instrumental in the development of the theoretical models to describe reactions. Yuan T. Lee Nationality: American Areas of concentration: Molecular reaction dynamics and photochemistry Lee helped revolutionize the field of molecular reaction dynamics through his construction of the first crossed molecular beams apparatus capable of detecting all molecules rather than select types. He conducted many experiments using these types of instruments and developed insight into the detailed mechanisms of bond formation and breaking in chemical reactions. John C. Polanyi Nationality: Canadian Area of concentration: Molecular reaction dynamics Polanyi developed the experimental method of infrared chemiluminescence, which allows chemists to look at the internal state distributions of product molecules in a chemical reaction. He performed a systematic study of the influence of potential energy surface features on the energy distributions in product molecules.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer Nationality: G. Binnig, German; H. Rohrer, Swiss Area of concentration: Surface science Binnig and Rohrer designed and developed the scanning tunneling microscope. In doing so, they were the first to demonstrate vacuum tunneling. Scanning tunneling microscopy is a technique that is able to image a surface on a variety of length scales and is capable of resolving individual atoms and molecules. The position and orientation of adsorbed molecules can be determined and manipulated. 1989 Hans G. Dehmelt Nationality: American Area of concentration: Atomic spectroscopy Dehmelt used ion-trap spectroscopy to study electrons and other charged particles. He was the first to observe a single electron in a trap, opening the door to precise measurements of key electron properties. Similar techniques allowed Dehmelt and his collaborators to observe a quantum jump in a single ion. Wolfgang Paul Nationality: German Area of concentration: Atomic physics Paul developed an electromagnetic trap capable of holding a small number of ions for long periods of time. The so-called Paul trap and its cousin, the Penning trap, play an important role in modern spectroscopy. Norman F. Ramsey Nationality: American Area of concentration: Atomic physics Ramsey developed a technique of imposing two separate, oscillating electromagnetic fields on an atomic beam to induce energy-level transitions that forms the basis of the cesium atomic clock. He also helped develop the hydrogen maser, which is useful as a secondary time standard.
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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Science: An Investment in the Future 1991 Richard R. Ernst Nationality: Swiss Area of concentration: Magnetic resonance imaging Ernst improved nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, and his contributions paved the way for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a biomedical technique for depicting tissues deep within the body. 1992 Rudolph A. Marcus Nationality: American Area of concentration: Physical chemistry Marcus is widely known for his theory of electron-transfer reactions. His work provided simple mathematical expressions for how energy of a molecular system is affected by changes in the structure of reacting molecules and their nearest neighbors. Electron transfer is a fundamental step in photosynthesis, metabolism, xerography, and chemical storage of electrical energy.
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