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Probing the quantum dynamics of electrons in a Mott insulator: paper in Nature Physics

15 December 2010

CQT researchers Stephen Clark and Dieter Jaksch have helped to uncover the ultra-fast quantum dynamics of electrons in a room-temperature material. State-of-the-art experiments were performed and analysed with collaborators at the Max Planck Research group for structural dynamics at the University of Hamburg and the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford. The experiments revealed oscillations in the conductivity of a Mott insulator, following excitation by a laser pulse, on a timescale of 10s of femtoseconds (one femtosecond is 10-15 seconds), and the measurements were successfully simulated using a Hubbard model.

In addition to providing new glimpses into quantum effects, such work helps to deepen our understanding of the interaction between lasers and solid matter - an important step for the manipulation and control of a material's properties using light.

The work appeared in Nature Physics on 5 December. Quantum interference between charge excitation paths in a solid-state Mott insulator

Stephen and Dieter have also written a less technical overview of the work, available here.

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