Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Controlling ultrafast electrons in motion

24.02.2016

The fully coherent free electron laser FERMI paves the way to control ultrafast electron motion

An international team has used the light produced by the Free Electron Laser FERMI at the research Centre Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste in the AREA Science Park to control the ultrafast movement of electrons. The experiment, published in the journal Nature Photonics, opens the way to the study of more complex processes which occur in nature on the scale of attoseconds (billionths of a billionth of a second), such as photosynthesis, combustion, catalysis and atmospheric chemistry.


Scheme of the experiment: pulses of light (waves) emit electrons (green) from a neon atom (violet).

Image courtesy of Maurizio Contran, Department of Physics, Politecnico di Milano.

Chemical, physical and biological processes are intrinsically dynamic, because they depend not only on the atomic and electronic structure of matter, but also on how they evolve in time. Ahmed Zewail won the Nobel prize (1999) for "femtochemistry": the observation and control of dynamic chemical processes using ultrafast laser pulses, of a few millionths of a billionth of a second (femtoseconds). This is the scale of time on which atoms make or break bonds in chemical or biological processes, such as photosynthesis or combustion.

Nature however can be still "faster". The atoms in a molecule move on the scale of femtoseconds, but the electrons, which are the basis of chemical bonds, are much faster and in the processes they cause, they move a thousand times faster, that is, tens or hundreds of attoseconds (a billionth of a billionth of a second).

"Like many in the scientific community", explains Kevin Prince, first author of the article just published, "we have also been working for years to develop innovative analytical methods with attosecond resolution to study and control fast dynamics. With this work, that exploits the exceptional properties of the laser light from FERMI, we can say we have finally achieved our goal."

The result was achieved by an international team of researchers from Italy (Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste, the Politecnico of Milano, the IFN, IOM and ISM institutes of CNR and ENEA), Japan (Tohoku University), Russia (Lomonosov Moscow State University), USA (Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa) and Germany (Technical University of Berlin, University of Freiburg, European XFEL, Hamburg, Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg).

They used a beam of light of two wavelengths (that is, two different colours) and managed to control the direction of emission of electrons ejected from an atom by the light. The experiment had a time resolution of 3 attoseconds, which now makes possible the study and control extremely fast processes.

"This result opens a new avenue to study and control ultrafast processes that involve electron motion on the time scale of attoseconds. We are dreaming about controlling more complex processes such as photocatalytic processes where the charge transfer plays a key role" said Kiyoshi Ueda, who with his group at Tohoku University, contributed to planning and conducting the experiment, and analysing the results.

###

This research have been published in the international journal Nature Photonics. To read more go to Ellettra's website: http://www.elettra.eu/science/top-stories/controlling-electrons-with-attosecond-time-resolution.html.

See also: http://www.medea-horizon2020.eu/

Contact:

Dr. Kevin Prince
Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, 34149 Trieste, Italy
Email: Prince@Elettra.eu
Tel: +39-040-3758584; +39-335 6949522

Prof. Kiyoshi Ueda and Dr. Denys Iablonskyi
IMRAM, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
Email:ueda@tagen.tohoku.ac.jp denys@tagen.tohoku.ac.jp
Tel: +81-(0)22-217-5481 (Ueda)
+81-(0)22-217-5483 (Iablonskyi)

Prof. Giuseppe Sansone
Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Email: giuseppe.sansone@polimi.it

Media Contact

Kiyoshi Ueda
ueda@tagen.tohoku.ac.jp
81-222-175-481

 @TohokuUniPR

http://www.tohoku.ac.jp/en/ 

Kiyoshi Ueda | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy
12.12.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

nachricht Midwife and signpost for photons
11.12.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars

12.12.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

How fires are changing the tundra’s face

12.12.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>