1. Reveal ultrafast elementary processes in condensed matter

Figure 1: Coupling mechanisms to reveal ultrafast elementary processes in condensed matter

Ultimately, we want to obtain a kind of movie that shows how electrons, spins and crystal lattice of a solid interact with each other on their natural (typically femtosecond) time scales and at their natural (typically THz) resonance frequencies. This idea is illustrated by the schematic in Figure 1.

We currently study interactions in complex and application-relevant materials, for instance liquids and magnetic nanostructures. Examples of questions we want to answer are as follows:

  • How does the vibrating crystal lattice (phonons) affect the state of the electrons or spins and vice versa (see figure above)?
  • How can electrons or spins be transported through a solid by light pulses (see Figure 2 below)?
  • How do molecules in liquids and soft matter react to strong pulsed electric fields?