Nav: Home

uOttawa researchers find cheaper, faster way to measure the electric field of light

October 16, 2020

Researchers at uOttawa have created a new method to measure the temporal evolution of electric fields with optical frequencies. The new approach, which works in ambient air, facilitates the direct measurement of the field waveform and could lead to breakthroughs in high-speed electronics.

To learn more, we talked to Aleksey Korobenko, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa, and lead author of "Femtosecond streaking in ambient air", an article recently published in the journal Optica.

Please tell us about this research project.

"The aim of our project is to resolve the electric field oscillations in a light pulse. This allows one to control the motion of electrons in quantum systems on shortest time scales and may lead to important applications such as petahertz electronics -- that are a million times faster than typical modern processors.

Such a measurement was first achieved using a technique called attosecond streaking -- a generalization of the long-known conventional streak camera. When irradiated with a short electromagnetic pulse, the gas molecules give up their electrons that continue their motion, experiencing the pull from the field of a second, "streaking," pulse. Measuring the velocity that the electrons acquire due to this pull allows one to reconstruct the streaking pulse on attosecond time scales."

What did you discover?

"In our work we demonstrated that instead of measuring the velocities of individual electrons in low-density gas samples, which requires high vacuum conditions and/or a complicated setup, one can simply measure the current induced in air plasma under ambient conditions. We probe this current using a pair of metal electrodes. which facilitates a much simpler and faster measurement of a light wave oscillation."

Why is it important?

"We can access the time scales of the optical field oscillations in an inexpensive, fast and robust way. Owing to its simplicity, our method can become a useful tool for the ultrashort lasers research community, aiding the development of a next generation petahertz electronics."

How was this research conducted?

"The experiments were carried out using a unique, state-of-the-art, high-power laser generating ultrashort pulses from the visible to the infrared spectrum. Performing a measurement of these pulses under different experimental conditions, we benchmarked our method against the established measurement techniques."

Is there anything you'd like to add?

"Yes, this study is an international collaboration with researchers from the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, the Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Germany and the Joint Attosecond Science Lab (NRC and uOttawa). Researchers of Canadian, Russian, German, American, Iranian, Chinese and French nationality participated in the project.

The research was conducted in the Joint Attosecond Science Laboratory, which is jointly operated by the University of Ottawa and the National Research Council."
-end-


University of Ottawa

Related Electrons Articles:

Self-imaging of a molecule by its own electrons
Researchers at the Max Born Institute (MBI) have shown that high-resolution movies of molecular dynamics can be recorded using electrons ejected from the molecule by an intense laser field.
Electrons in the fast lane
Microscopic structures could further improve perovskite solar cells
Laser takes pictures of electrons in crystals
Microscopes of visible light allow to see tiny objects as living cells and their interior.
Plasma electrons can be used to produce metallic films
Computers, mobile phones and all other electronic devices contain thousands of transistors, linked together by thin films of metal.
Flatter graphene, faster electrons
Scientists from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics at the University of Basel developed a technique to flatten corrugations in graphene layers.
Researchers develop one-way street for electrons
The work has shown that these electron ratchets create geometric diodes that operate at room temperature and may unlock unprecedented abilities in the illusive terahertz regime.
Photons and electrons one on one
The dynamics of electrons changes ever so slightly on each interaction with a photon.
Using light to put a twist on electrons
Method with polarized light can create and measure nonsymmetrical states in a layered material.
What if we could teach photons to behave like electrons?
The researchers tricked photons - which are intrinsically non-magnetic - into behaving like charged electrons.
Electrons in rapid motion
Researchers observe quantum interferences in real-time using a new extreme ultra-violet light spectroscopy technique.
More Electrons News and Electrons Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.