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Ultrafast quantum physics on the sub-cycle time scale

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 305003

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 April 2013

  • End date

    31 March 2018

Funded under:

FP7-IDEAS-ERC

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 494 564

  • EU contribution

    € 1 494 564

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITAET REGENSBURG

Germany

Objective

The physics of condensed matter depends on ultrafast dynamics of its atomic constituents. Femtosecond light pulses have been exploited to monitor these phenomena by stroboscopic means. Yet, the time resolution is limited by the duration of the intensity envelope of the light pulses used. We propose a new class of sub-cycle optics, which harnesses the absolute optical phase and amplitude of ultrashort transients to control condensed matter faster than an oscillation cycle of light. Merging latest terahertz technology with nanooptics, we tailor extreme electric and magnetic near-fields of phase-locked infrared pulses in all four spatio-temporal dimensions. This unprecedented laboratory allows us to pioneer long sought-after non-adiabatic quantum physics of all relevant elementary degrees of freedom: electronic charge and spin as well as photons.
(i) Optical acceleration of electrons in the sub-cycle limit will permit to test yet unobserved key concepts of relativistic quantum transport, such as Zitterbewegung of Dirac fermions and Bloch oscillations in bulk semiconductors.
(ii) We aim to switch the spin direction in magnetic materials by giant magnetic or electric fields, of 10 GV/m and several 10 Tesla, promising record control speeds and unique vistas onto the fastest magnetic elementary processes.
(iii) By advancing the sensitivity of electro-optic sampling to the few-photon level the quantum nature of the oscillating carrier wave will be detected in the time domain. Spontaneous creation of photons out of quantum vacua, reminiscent of Hawking radiation of black holes, may be traced.
The project breaks grounds for basic research, shedding new light onto the foundations of quantum electrodynamics, solid state physics and magnetism, as well as a new kind of field resolved quantum optics.

Principal Investigator

Rupert Huber (Prof.)

Host institution

UNIVERSITAET REGENSBURG

Address

Universitatsstrasse 31
93053 Regensburg

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 494 564

Principal Investigator

Rupert Huber (Prof.)

Administrative Contact

Matthias Koehler (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITAET REGENSBURG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 1 494 564

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 305003

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 April 2013

  • End date

    31 March 2018

Funded under:

FP7-IDEAS-ERC

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 494 564

  • EU contribution

    € 1 494 564

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITAET REGENSBURG

Germany