Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakthrough in quantum physics

02.10.2018

Reaction of a quantum fluid to photoexcitation of dissolved particles observed for the first time

In his research, Markus Koch, Associate Professor at the Institute of Experimental Physics of Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), concentrates on processes in molecules and clusters which take place on time scales of picoseconds (10^-12 seconds) and femtoseconds (10^ -15 seconds).


Markus Koch (2nd in the left row), Wolfgang Ernst (4th in the left row), Bernhard Thaler (1st in the right row) and the team at the Institute of Experimental Physics of TU Graz achieved a breakthrough in the research of completely novel molecular systems.

Credit: Lunghammer - TU Graz

Now Koch and his team have achieved a breakthrough in the research on completely novel molecular systems. By means of femtosecond spectroscopy, which allows ultrafast processes to be measured in a time-resolved way, the Graz researchers were able to exactly describe the processes in an approximately five-nanometer sized superfluid helium droplet after photoexcitation of an atom inside.

This milestone in basic research has impact on the experimental investigation of atoms and molecules. Markus Koch explains the pioneering approach: "Our institute, headed by Wolfgang Ernst, has a long tradition in the production and investigation of novel systems and clusters in a nanometer-sized quantum fluid. We are now combining this expertise with femtosecond spectroscopy.

This allows us to observe and measure processes, which are triggered by photoexcitation in real time and to describe their dynamics. We are the first research group who has observed this." The results of the research have just been published in Nature Communications.

A technique rich in superlatives

To investigate this fundamental process which takes place on an ultrashort timescale of only one trillionth of a second, the team led by Markus Koch applies femtosecond spectroscopy. The femtosecond pump-probe method provides snapshots of atomic movements. For the experiment, a single indium atom is introduced into a tiny helium droplet.

The indium atom is subjected to pump excitation by means of a short pulse and subsequently transfers energy to the surrounding helium, which starts to oscillate collectively. A time-delayed second flash of light then probes the system in order to observe the dynamics. Bernhard Thaler, a PhD student at the Institute of Experimental Physics who is substantially involved in the pathbreaking research, explains what happens:

"When we photoexcite the atom inside the helium droplet, its electron shell expands and the enveloping bubble increases within a picosecond after stimulation. We further observe that the indium atom is ejected from the droplet after about 50 to 60 picoseconds. We were able to obtain this mechanistic insight for the first time with the femtosecond experiment."

A process characterised by superlatives: ultrafast movements on femtosecond timescales inside nanometer-sized helium droplets (which is less than one thousandth of the diameter of a hair), at an ultralow temperature of 0.4 Kelvin above absolute zero. The team was able to illustrate this process very clearly using simulation software.

From proof of concept to application in complex molecules

With this research success, Markus Koch and his team managed to prove impressively that the ultrafast, electronic and nuclear dynamics of particles inside superfluid helium droplets can be observed and simulated. Following this research success, Markus Koch is already looking into the future. "Today, we are still experimenting with single atoms," says Koch, "but after this proof of concept we are moving in giant steps towards the application of helium nanodroplets to investigate dynamics in previously unknown or fragile molecular systems of technological or biological relevance."

###

The research of Markus Koch and his team was funded as a Stand-Alone Project by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

This research project is anchored in the Field of Expertise „Advanced Materials Science", one of five strategic research FoE of TU Graz. Participating researchers are members of NAWI Graz - Natural Sciences.

Media Contact

Barbara Gigler
barbara.gigler@tugraz.at
43-664-608-736-006

http://www.tugraz.at 

Barbara Gigler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.tugraz.at/en/tu-graz/services/news-stories/media-service/singleview/article/durchbruch-in-der-quantenphysik-reaktion-von-quantenfluid-auf-fotoanregung-geloester-teilchen-erstma/
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06413-9

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht On Mars, sands shift to a different drum
24.05.2019 | University of Arizona

nachricht New Boost for ToCoTronics
23.05.2019 | 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: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>