Frenchman Serge Haroche and American David Wineland have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics for inventing and developing methods for observing tiny quantum particles without destroying them.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists Tuesday "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems."
Haroche and Wineland, both 68, work in the field of quantum optics, which deals with the interaction between light and matter.
"Their ground-breaking methods have enabled this field of research to take the very first steps towards building a new type of super fast computer based on quantum physics," the academy said.
"The research has also led to the construction of extremely precise clocks that could become the future basis for a new standard of time."
Prof. Gilles Brassard — a quantum physicist at the Universite of Montreal — was among the favourites for the physics prize.
In April 2011, he was a co-winner of the prestigious Killam Prize for accomplishments in scientific research.
Brassard has been described as "one of Canada's science superstars" for his pioneering work in quantum information science.
This year's Nobel Prize announcements began Monday with the medicine prize going to stem cell pioneers John Gurdon of Britain and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka. Each award is worth about $1.2 million Cdn.