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Quantum Physics with Attosecond Pulses

Project description

A new approach to quantum optics experiments

Exciting atoms and molecules with ultrashort light pulses can reveal new details of their inner workings. Researchers of the EU-funded QPAP project will take a step in a new direction – deeper into the world of quantum mechanics. In quantum optics, experiments are often carried out using individual photons or ions. The QPAP team will instead use short electron 'wave packets' created by absorption of laser-based attosecond pulses. Researchers plan to create electron waves in a controlled way and study how well and for how long they can be made to interfere with each other. Furthermore, entangled electron pairs will be created and studied in the time domain. This research is of interest not only within attosecond science and atomic and molecular physics in general; it might shed new lights on fundamental quantum physics.


This project lies at the crossing of attosecond science, photoionization of atoms and molecules and quantum optics. Progress in the performances of the attosecond sources, in particular regarding repetition rate, now enables us to perform photoionization studies of atoms and molecules using advanced coincidence/three dimensional momentum techniques. Adding an additional dimension, the phase, which is accessible by attosecond interferometric techniques, we will able to follow in time the quantum properties of the studied processes.

The aim of the present application is to perform quantum optics experiments, not with photons as in conventional quantum optics, but with electron wave-packets created by absorption of attosecond light pulses.

Our objectives are
- to characterize and study in the time domain the quantum coherence of attosecond electron wavepackets,
- to control quantum interferences of electron wavepackets using a small number of attosecond pulses and
- to create and follow in time entangled two-electron attosecond wavepackets.

The experiments will use advanced laser systems, attosecond sources and electron detectors. A unique 200-kHz repetition rate laser system based on optical parametric chirped pulse amplification technology, combined with an efficient attosecond source and a three-dimensional momentum electron detector will open the door to attosecond experiments where the kinematics of the light-matter interaction can be recorded.

The success in achieving the above objectives will not only lead to a major leap forward in attosecond science and atomic and molecular physics in general; it might shed new lights in fundamental quantum physics, given the originality of the studied systems, attosecond electron wave packets and the versatility of the tools, providing four dimensional information (momentum and time) for multiple particles.


Net EU contribution
€ 2 500 000,00
Paradisgatan 5c
22100 Lund

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Södra Sverige Sydsverige Skåne län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)