TUM-IAS Rudolf Mößbauer Professor Michael Knap observed the creation of quasiparticles in real-time
TUM-IAS Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Professor Michael Knap, member of the TUM-IAS Focus Group Collective Quantum Dynamics, and an international team of physicists were able to study the birth of a quasiparticle comprising an electron and its polarization cloud, by using an ingenious trick.
Quasiparticles are among the most important concepts in condensed matter physics. However, thus far observing the formation of such quasiparticles in solid state systems in real time has been elusive. The formation processes take place on attosecond time scales – incredibly short time intervals, as an attosecond is to a second roughly what a second is to the age of the universe.
Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the USA proposed to apply the methods used in extremely accurate atomic clocks to create an ultra-cold environment in which the formation of quasiparticles takes place in slow-motion.
“While the natural time scale of such quasiparticles in solid state systems is in the range of 100 attoseconds, the creation of polarons in this kind of system takes several microseconds,” says Michael Knap, Professor for Collective Quantum Dynamics at TU Munich. “The novel methodology thus provides a new way of understanding the fundamental processes in electronics components. This insight is important, for example, for electronics in information technology and advanced imaging processes in medicine and engineering.”
The results of the study were published in the prestigious high-ranked Science Magazine (IF 34.661).
For more information, please see the official TUM press release.