Colorado State University Professor Jorge Rocca Receives Willis E. Lamb Award for Contributions in X-Ray Laser Physics

Note to Reporters: A photo of Jorge Rocca is available with the news release at

University Distinguished Professor Jorge Rocca has been honored with the 2012 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics by Physics of Quantum Electronics.

Rocca received the prestigious award for seminal contributions and investigations in the field of tabletop X-ray laser physics. The Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics is awarded to scientists for outstanding contributions and is named after Willis E. Lamb, Jr., a 1955 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics who is known for laser theory and quantum optics.

Rocca received the award along with professors Henry Kapteyn and Margaret Murnane of the University of Colorado-Boulder. Both Kapteyn and Murnane work with Rocca in the multi-institutional National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology based at Colorado State.

This is the second major award for Rocca – one of only 12 University Distinguished Professors at any one time at Colorado State – in recent months. In October, he was awarded the 2011 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science from the American Physical Society, which is one of the highest honors for a physicist.

Rocca is an international leader in the development of compact X-ray lasers. He and his team have found ways to dramatically improve the quality of ultra-short wavelength light produced by small-sized lasers – a groundbreaking discovery particularly valuable for nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Rocca joined Colorado State in 1983 and holds a joint appointment in the departments of electrical and computer engineering and physics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a past recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineer’s Distinguished Lecturer Award. Rocca earned his bachelor’s in physics from the University of Rosario in Argentina and his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Colorado State.

The NSF Extreme Ultraviolet Engineering Research Center, a partnership between Colorado State in Fort Collins, the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of California-Berkeley, combines the expertise of researchers who are among the world leaders in developing compact extreme ultraviolet coherent light sources, optics and optical systems for nanoscience, nanotechnology and other applications.

For more information about the Willis E. Lamb Award, go to