Attosecond physics at the nanoscale

The interaction of light with nanostructures exhibits two remarkabale features. The incident electromagnetic field can be enhanced by up to several orders of magnitude. Furthermore, these enhanced near-fields are confined to and vary on a scale of a few nanometers around the nanostructure, well below the diffraction limit of the exciting light. These effects form the basis for applications of nanostructures in science and technology. We aim at combining the spatial resolution provided by nanostructures with the temporal resolution offered by the short pulse laser sources in our laboratory, reaching into the attosecond domain. We study strong-field interactions with nanostructures and nanodevices, which exhibit many interesting differences to well-known strong-field atomic physics. We study the dynamics of light-generated electrons to unravel the effects of light-electron and collective charge interactions. Attosecond streaking, a pump-probe technique with synchronized attosecond extreme ultraviolet pulses and optical laser pulses, is one of the powerful techniques we employ to reconstruct nanolocalized electric fields and electron dynamics with attosecond temporal and nanometer spatial resolution. This ability will be instrumental in developing ultrafast plasmonic circuitry, which can overcome current limitations in resistive electronics and might open an avenue towards quantum computing at ambient temperature.

Selected recent publications:

J. Schötz et al., ACS Photonics 6, 357 (2019)
L. Seiffert et al., Nat. Phys. 13, 766 (2017)

20th August 2016