The development of China's scientific research has been marked by speed and quality, especially in the past five years, and the economic and social benefits will follow soon, Gerard Mourou, 2018 Physics Nobel Prize winner, said in Beijing on Thursday.
"You're going incredibly fast, which is good. People in the West can't believe how fast you are moving," Mourou told the Global Times in an interview.
Mourou, who is French, was in Beijing to speak at Photonics Asia 2018, an event that is jointly organized by the Chinese Optical Society (COS) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).
As a pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and lasers, Mourou has been working closely with Chinese scientists in the field closely. The latest developments of the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Lasers Facility, a large-scale laser machine that could create special conditions for research and has practical applications, have brought him to China several times in past three years.
"Professor Mourou was in China last month and in 2015. He created a similar program in the EU. The ultra-short pulse laser program in Shanghai is going 100 PW," said Doctor Gu Bo, deputy secretary-general of the COS.
"Europe was ahead. Now, Chinese are really catching up," Mourou said. "Obviously, Shanghai has a big project of going 100 PW. Europe's biggest project now is 10 PW. On the scientific ground, it's very interesting."
As to Mourou's interest in cooperation, Li Ruxin, director of the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics and deputy director of the COS, said that "we will start cooperation on high-intensity single-cycle laser pulse research. If it goes well, we may start proton acceleration research."
The invention for which Mourou is best known is the technique of chirped pulse amplification of ultrashort optical pulses, which has been applied in cancer therapy and eye surgery.
"Products or outcomes in these applications will follow soon, and this will give the Chinese economy new power," Mourou added.
The core of China's industrial upgrading is intelligent manufacturing, and the core of intelligent manufacturing is photonics techniques, Gu noted.
The prospects of basic science are unpredictable. China's photonics applications account for one-fifth of the world total. "It's promising," Gu said.