Donna Strickland received her Bachelor of Engineering degree (B. Eng.) in engineering physics, from McMaster University in 1981. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 1989 with a Ph.D. in optics. At Rochester, she co-invented Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA), which made it possible to amplify ultra-short pulses to unprecedented levels. The CPA technique is now used extensively around the world to generate intense laser pulses and is the method used to generate the highest peak power (1 Petawatt) laser pulses.
From 1991 to 1992, she was a physicist with the laser division of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she helped develop new CPA lasers and carry out experiments on high order harmonic generation.
In 1992, she became a member of the technical staff of Princeton's Advanced Technology Center for photonics and opto-electronic materials. At Princeton, she was involved in the development of optical pulse shaping techniques and nonlinear optical measurements of novel materials.
Dr. Strickland joined the physics department of the University of Waterloo as an assistant professor in January 1997, where she continues her research in ultrafast lasers. The ultrafast laser group at Waterloo has developed a unique, short-pulse, dual-wavelength laser system. The two laser outputs have been mixed to generate high power, short pulse mid-infrared radiation. Donna Strickland is an Alfred P. Sloan research fellow and has received a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a research corporation, Cottrell Scholars Award.