Breakthrough in Sampling of Light Fields Advances High-Speed Opto-Electronics

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A strong few-cycle laser pulse leads to strong-field ionization of gas atoms and molecules. Credit: © RMT Bergues

LMU-physicists report in Nature Communications what happens during the sampling of a light field. It is an important step towards novel opto-electronic applications.

Future electronics will be fast. It could be driven at the frequencies of light waves. This implies that the switching speeds would be roughly 100,000 times faster than today. The development of electronics driven by light requires a detailed characterization of the light waves’s electromagnetic fields. Modern so-called field-sampling methods allow for probing the temporal evolution of a light field. While these techniques have been established, a complete and detailed understanding of their underlying mechanism has been lacking.

Now with the help of experimental studies and numerical calculations, an international team at the LMU under the leadership of Prof. Matthias Kling and Dr. Boris Bergues, has uncovered what exactly happens during the sampling of light fields and how their interaction with matter induces measurable currents in electronic circuits. “Scattering and charge interaction of the generated charge carriers play an essential role in the formation of the macroscopic signal via ultrafast current generation in gases,” explains Dr. Johannes Schötz, first author of the publication. The study is an important step towards novel opto-electronic applications. It paves the way to future light-field-controlled electronics. With their findings the scientists anticipate to advance the development of more efficient and highly sensitive PHz field measurements.

Reference: “The emergence of macroscopic currents in photoconductive sampling of optical fields” by Johannes Schötz, Ancyline Maliakkal, Johannes Blöchl, Dmitry Zimin, Zilong Wang, Philipp Rosenberger, Meshaal Alharbi, Abdallah M. Azzeer, Matthew Weidman, Vladislav S. Yakovlev, Boris Bergues and Matthias F. Kling, 18 February 2022, Nature Communications.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28412-7



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