Manuel MeierhoferPhD Student Universität RegensburgDepartment of Physics
S. Ito, M. Schüler, M. Meierhofer, S. Schlauderer, J. Freudenstein, R. Reimann, D. Afanasiev, K. A. Kokh, O. E. Tereshchenko, J. Güdde, M. A. Sentef, U. Höfer, R. Huber
In: Nature, vol. 616, pp. pages 696–701, 2023.
Strong light fields have created opportunities to tailor novel functionalities of solids. Floquet–Bloch states can form under periodic driving of electrons and enable exotic quantum phases. On subcycle timescales, lightwaves can simultaneously drive intraband currents and interband transition, which enable high-harmonic generation and pave the way towards ultrafast electronics. Yet, the interplay of intraband and interband excitations and their relation to Floquet physics have been key open questions as dynamical aspects of Floquet states have remained elusive. Here we provide this link by visualizing the ultrafast build-up of Floquet–Bloch bands with time-resolved and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. We drive surface states on a topological insulator with mid-infrared fields—strong enough for high-harmonic generation—and directly monitor the transient band structure with subcycle time resolution. Starting with strong intraband currents, we observe how Floquet sidebands emerge within a single optical cycle; intraband acceleration simultaneously proceeds in multiple sidebands until high-energy electrons scatter into bulk states and dissipation destroys the Floquet bands. Quantum non-equilibrium calculations explain the simultaneous occurrence of Floquet states with intraband and interband dynamics. Our joint experiment and theory study provides a direct time-domain view of Floquet physics and explores the fundamental frontiers of ultrafast band-structure engineering.
J. Freudenstein, M. Borsch, M. Meierhofer, D. Afanasiev, C. P. Schmid, F. Sandner, M. Liebich, A. Girnghuber, M. Knorr, M. Kira, R. Huber
Attosecond clocking of correlations between Bloch electrons Journal Article
In: Nature, vol. 610, pp. 290–295, 2022.
Delocalized Bloch electrons and the low-energy correlations between them determine key optical, electronic and entanglement functionalities of solids, all the way through to phase transitions. To directly capture how many-body correlations affect the actual motion of Bloch electrons, subfemtosecond (1 fs = 10−15 s) temporal precision is desirable. Yet, probing with attosecond (1 as = 10−18 s) high-energy photons has not been energy-selective enough to resolve the relevant millielectronvolt-scale interactions of electrons near the Fermi energy. Here, we use multi-terahertz light fields to force electron–hole pairs in crystalline semiconductors onto closed trajectories, and clock the delay between separation and recollision with 300 as precision, corresponding to 0.7% of the driving field’s oscillation period. We detect that strong Coulomb correlations emergent in atomically thin WSe2 shift the optimal timing of recollisions by up to 1.2 ± 0.3 fs compared to the bulk material. A quantitative analysis with quantum-dynamic many-body computations in a Wigner-function representation yields a direct and intuitive view on how the Coulomb interaction, non-classical aspects, the strength of the driving field and the valley polarization influence the dynamics. The resulting attosecond chronoscopy of delocalized electrons could revolutionize the understanding of unexpected phase transitions and emergent quantum-dynamic phenomena for future electronic, optoelectronic and quantum-information technologies.