Laser physicists from the Laboratory of Attosecond Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have developed an extremely powerful broadband infrared light source. This light source opens up a whole new range of opportunities in medicine, life science, and material analysis.
Infrared light has a keen sense for molecules. With the help of this light, researchers are able to go in search of the small particles which shape and determine our lives. The phenomenon, in which infrared light sets molecules in vibration, is pivotal in this search. Scientists are exploiting this phenomenon by using infrared light to analyze the molecular makeup of samples.
In the hope that this analysis can become even more exact, the laser physicists from the Laboratory of Attosecond Physics (LAP) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) have developed an infrared light source that has an enormously broad spectrum of wavelengths. This light source is the first of its kind worldwide and can be used to help detect the smallest amounts of molecules in liquids like blood.
When infrared light encounters molecules, they begin to vibrate. In this process, each particular type of molecule is brought into motion by a very specific set of different wavelengths in the range from 3 to 20 micrometers.
By examining the wavelengths of the light being emitted after this excitation, researchers are able to derive the molecular composition of the sample. The more powerful the source of infrared light and the more wavelengths utilized, the higher the chance of determining the sample composition, in for example breath or blood.
The LAP physicists have set themselves this challenge. They use an infrared light source which is based on a new disc laser that has a wavelength spectrum spanning from 5 to 20 micrometers (in comparison a person is able to see light in a range between 0.35 and 0.7 micrometers). The new system consists of a short pulse laser that emits 77,000 pulses per second. The pulses themselves are mere femtoseconds long (a femtosecond is one-millionth of one billionth of a second).
With this system, which has an output power of 19 Watt, researchers have achieved the broadest simultaneous infrared coverage from a solid state laser. Moreover, the infrared laser pulses emitted should correspond to a sub-cycle pulse in time domain.
This new light source opens up countless opportunities for the physicists of better understanding the fundamental properties of solid and soft matter. The analysis of light spectrums after interactions with material with infrared spectroscopy and microscopy allows the more precise and accurate conceptualization of research methods.
The LAP team utilizes these methods for driving the so-called “Broadband Infrared Diagnostics” project. In the framework of this project, the scientists are interested in assessing the molecular makeup of blood and breath. Should particular molecules be present, like the kind that appear in cancer patients, this could prove to be a reliable indicator that further examination is needed. A new diagnostic tool for the early detection of diseases might just have been developed. Thorsten Naeser
Jinwei Zhang, Ka Fai Mak1, Nathalie Nagl, Marcus Seidel, Dominik Bauer, Dirk Sutter, Vladimir Pervak, Ferenc Krausz, and Oleg Pronin
Multi-mW, few-cycle mid-infrared continuum spanning from 500 to 2250 cm-1
Light: Science and Applications (2018) 7, 17180; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.180
Dr. Oleg Pronin
Chair of Experimental Physics - Laser Physics
Am Coulombwall 1
85748 Garching, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 289 -54059
Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng
Press & Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics
85748 Garching, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 / 32 905 - 213
Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
One-way roads for spin currents
23.05.2018 | Singapore University of Technology and Design
Tunable diamond string may hold key to quantum memory
23.05.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy