Sub-Cycle Quantum Physics (Prof. A. Leitenstorfer)

  • Date: Nov 6, 2015
  • Time: 14:30 - 16:00
  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Alfred Leitenstorfer, Universität Konstanz, Fachbereich Physik
  • Room: Herbert Walther Lecture Hall
  • Host: MPQ
Recent progress in establishing an extreme time-domain approach to condensed-matter physics and quantum optics is presented.

These studies are enabled by advanced femtosecond sources exploiting Er, Yb and Tm:doped gain media. Based on nonlinear fiber optics and thin-disk technology, our compact systems combine attractive features like e.g. single-cycle pulse generation and passive phase locking with quantum-limited noise performance at high photon flux. In this way, we can investigate ultrafast dynamics of charges and spins in single solid-state nanostructures and on the level of individual quasiparticles. The addition of multi-terahertz technology gives access to low-energy elementary degrees of freedom in complex materials with strong quantum correlations. We trace the atomic origin of electronic bands by localizing the wave functions in phase-locked transient bias fields and sub-cycle optical probing. Following this cross-sectional overview, the talk will focus on the latest step towards precise temporal manipulation and analysis of the quantum properties of light and matter: even the vacuum fluctuations of the electric field may be detected with ultrabroadband electro-optic sampling in free space. Here, the sub-cycle aspect is of fundamental relevance because it opens up a direct way to study virtual excitations without amplifying them to finite occupation numbers.

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