Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Attosecond real-time Observation of a Quantum Hole

05.08.2010
For the first time ever, physicists from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have observed what occurs inside an atom from which a single electron has been ejected. They report their findings in Nature, 5th August 2010 (Doi:10.1038/nature09212)

An international team from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (www.attoworld.de), led by Prof. Ferenc Krausz at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, in collaborations with researchers from the United States and Saudi Arabia, have observed, for the first time, the quantum-mechanical behaviour occurring at the location in a noble gas atom where, shortly before, an electron had been ejected from its orbit. The researchers achieved this result using light pulses which last only slightly longer than 100 attoseconds.

Quantum particles, such as electrons, are volatile entities, governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. Movements of electrons in their atomic orbitals last for just a few attoseconds. One attosecond is one billionth of one billionth of a second. What exactly the elementary particles do in the atoms’ atmosphere is, currently, largely unknown. It is, however, clearly understood that one cannot determine both the momentum and location of a particle at the same time. Consequently, the quantum mechanical motion of these elementary particles can be described in terms of a cloud called the “probability density of the particles” subject to rapid pulsation following an excitation.

Now, for the first time, the international team from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) have succeeded in observing how an electron cloud moves with time when one of the electrons in an atom is ejected by a pulse of light. The research collaboration included physicists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics at Garching, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, the King Saud University in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), the Argonne National Laboratory (U.S.) and the University of California, Berkeley (U.S.).

In their experiments, the physicists allowed laser pulses in the visible range of the spectrum to encounter krypton atoms. The light pulses, with a duration of less than four femtoseconds, in each case ejected an electron from the outer shells of the atoms (a femtosecond is one millionth of one billionth of a second).

Once a laser pulse has knocked an electron out of an atom, the atom becomes a positively charged ion. At the point where the electron has left the atom, a positively charged hole develops inside the ion. Quantum mechanically, this free space then continues to pulsate inside the atom as a so-called quantum beat.

The physicists could now directly observe, and virtually photograph, this pulsation using a second ultraviolet light pulse, lasting only some 150 attoseconds. It turned out that the position of the hole inside the ion, i.e., the positively charged location, moved back and forth between an elongated, club-like shape and a compact, contracted shape, with a cycle period of only around 6 femtoseconds. “Thus, for the first time ever, we succeeded in directly observing the change occurring in the charge distribution inside an atom,” explains Dr. Eleftherios Goulielmakis, research group leader in the team of Prof. Krausz.

“Our experiments have given us a unique real-time view of the micro-cosmos,” explains Ferenc Krausz. “Using attosecond light flashes, we have for the first time recorded quantum- mechanical processes inside an ionised atom.” The findings of the LAP researchers help one to understand the dynamics of elementary particles outside of the atomic nucleus. In more complex (molecular) systems this kind of split-second dynamics is primarily responsible for the sequence of biological and chemical processes. A more precise understanding of this dynamics could in the future lead to a better understanding of the microscopic origin of currently incurable diseases, or to a gradual acceleration in the speed of electronic data processing towards the ultimate limit of electronics. [Thorsten Naeser]

More high-resolution picture material is available on:
http://www.attoworld.de/Home/newsAndPress/BreakingNews/index.html
Original publication:
Eleftherios Goulielmakis, Zhi-Heng Loh, Adrian Wirth, Robin Santra, Nina Rohringer, Vladislav S. Yakovlev, Sergey Zherebtsov, Thomas Pfeifer, Abdallah M. Azzeer, Matthias F. Kling, Stephen R. Leone and Ferenc Krausz.
“Real-time observation of valence electron motion”,
Nature, 5. August 2010,Doi:10.1038/nature09212
For further information contact:
Prof. Ferenc Krausz
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
Tel: +49 89 32905-612
Fax: +49 89 32905-649
Email: ferenc.krausz@mpq.mpg.de
http://www.attoworld.de
Dr. Eleftherios Goulielmakis
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
Tel: +49 89 32 905-632
Fax: +49 89 32 905-200
Email: elgo@mpq.mpg.de
Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng
Press & Public Relations
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics
Phone: +49 - 89 / 32905 - 213
e-mail: olivia.meyer-streng@mpq.mpg.de

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | idw
Further information:
http://www.attoworld.de
http://www.mpq.mpg.de

Further reports about: Attosecond Ferenc LAP Max Planck Institute Optic Quantum elementary particles

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle

17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Smart homes will “LISTEN” to your voice

17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>