National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC
University of Ottawa

University of Ottawa

November 30, 2009 09:40 ET

New NRC, University of Ottawa Laboratory Positions Nation's Capital as Attosecond Science Capital of the World

Strengthens Canada's position as world leader in photonics research

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2009) - Dr. Paul Corkum, this year's winner of the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, will lead a new state-of-the-art laboratory in Ottawa that will be home to Canada's fastest X-ray laser flash.

The announcement was made at the National Research Council by Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans, on behalf of Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear.

The technology will allow scientists to take pictures of molecules during chemical reactions and study the motion of electrons. The X-ray flash is so fast that it can freeze the motion of an electron orbiting an atom. This is the first step to unpacking the molecules that make up all the matter of our universe.

Research at the Joint Laboratory for Attosecond Science (JASLab) may lead to scientific breakthroughs in health care, diagnostic medicine, quantum computing, nanotechnology, environmental science and energy.

"Our government is investing in science and technology to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve Canadians' quality of life," said Mr. Galipeau. "This new laboratory will make Canada an international leader in light research and will help attract and train the world's best scientists in this field."

JASLab is a strategic collaboration between the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the University of Ottawa, positioning the National Capital Region as the attosecond science capital of the world.

Attosecond research provides the ultimate window into what's happening at the molecular level and helps scientists study the fastest processes in atomic and molecular physics.

"Innovative research facilities such as JASLab increase the competitiveness of the National Capital Region," said NRC President Dr. Pierre Coulombe. "These types of initiatives create dynamic locations where companies, government, and universities can network, invest and bring innovative technologies to market."

The laboratory, located in the deepest section of the NRC building on Sussex Drive, was specifically designed to support an innovative laser system that produces 80-million pulses of light per second.

"This exemplary collaboration between NRC and the University of Ottawa proves how valuable the geographic proximity of national research centres, such as NRC, are for our professors, researchers and students," said Allan Rock, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. "JASLab will enable University of Ottawa researchers in attosecond science to work in a sophisticated facility just a few streets from campus."

Dr. Corkum, a pioneer in the field of attosecond science, has had a long and distinguished career as a research scientist at NRC and is a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa.

"JASLab is an important strategic addition to Ottawa's suite of photonics tools," said Dr. Corkum. "It will provide more opportunities for researchers from NRC and the University of Ottawa to work in a scientific field being pioneered in Canada with tremendous strategic potential."

About the National Research Council and the University of Ottawa

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology.

The University of Ottawa's commitment to research excellence and interdisciplinary approach to knowledge creation attract the best academic talent from across Canada and around the world.

The collaborative relationship between NRC and the University of Ottawa is a prime example of an innovative partnership that leverages Canada's public research base to maximize our competitive advantage.

For more information, please visit NRC's Web site at or visit

Contact Information

  • National Research Council Canada
    Media Relations
    University of Ottawa
    Nadine Saint-Amour
    Media Relations Officer
    613-562-5800 ext. 3149
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Gary Toft
    Director of Communications