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Attosecond nanoscopy of electron dynamics instrongly correlated materials


"In 1929, one year after the formulation of his world-famous equation, Paul Dirac wrote that ""the fundamental laws (…) of a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry are thus completely known, (…) but lead to equations that are too complex to be solved"". While Dirac was referring to analytical solutions to his equation, numerical approaches have made tremendous progress over the past century. Nonetheless, the so-called strongly correlated materials continue to defy a common experimental and computational access to some of their intriguing exotic properties in solids.

In this proposal, I will investigate correlated transition-metal oxides, which undergo a phase transition upon external perturbation, such as temperature, pressure, strain or laser excitation.
I will develop a unique table-top ultrafast soft-X-ray absorption and holographic imaging experiment. The measurements will follow the attosecond to picosecond dynamic switching between metallic and insulating phases after laser excitation of transition metal oxides with element-specific absorption measurements, and simultaneously spatially resolve the ultrafast emerging nanometer texture of the phase transition. The unprecedented measurement of attosecond nanoscale dynamics will enable to unambiguously identify the mechanism and ultimate speed of phase transitions.

I will use the fundamental insight from attosecond nanoscopy to test the hypothesis, that structural and electronic IMTs coexist and can be steered through both sample engineering and attosecond light-field control, which will pave the way towards PHz oxide electronics. Controlling the currently absent spatial uniformity of phase transitions on the nanoscale and the concomitant order-of-magnitude resistivity changes are key ingredients to guide transition-metal oxides towards their long-heralded usage in future oxide electronics as thin-film transistors, which will finally enable ReRAM memory to enter high-volume manufacturing."


Net EU contribution
€ 1 997 105,00
Winthontlaan 2
3526 KV Utrecht

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West-Nederland Utrecht Utrecht
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00