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Heading towards a tsunami of light

News: Mar 19, 2019

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.Evangelos Siminos
“This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle – it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different,” says Illia Thiele, a theoretical physicist at Chalmers University of Technology.
Together with Dr Evangelos Siminos at the University of Gothenburg, and Tünde Fülöp, Professor of Physics at Chalmers, Illia Thiele now presents a theoretical method for creating the fastest possible single wave motion. This kind of radiation has never yet been observed in the universe or even the lab.

The radiation source is interesting for understanding the properties of different materials. Since it offers an ultra-fast switching of light matter interactions, it can be useful in material science, or sensor related research, for example. Moreover, it can be used as a driver for other types of radiation, and to push the limits of how short a light pulse could be.
“An ultra-intense pulse is like a great tsunami of light. The wave can pull an electron out of an atom, accelerating it to almost the speed of light, creating exotic quantum states. This is the fastest and strongest switch possible, and it paves the way for advances in fundamental research,” says Dr Illia Thiele.
The new pulses can be used to probe and control matter in unique ways. While other light pulses, with multiple wave periods, impose changes in the material properties gradually, pulses with a single strong wave period cause sudden and unexpected reactions.

Researchers worldwide have tried to create this source of radiation, since it is of high interest for the scientific communities within physics and material science.
"The uniqueness of our method lies in the fact that an indestructible medium - an electron beam - is used as an amplifier, allowing more intense pulses to be created. We hope that our proposal will soon be realized in the lab, leading to pulses of unprecedented intensity," says Evangelos Siminos, Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Gothenburg.

“Now, we hope to be able to bring our theoretical setup to the lab. Our method could help close the existing gaps in the scientific landscape of light sources,” says Tünde Fülöp, Professor of Physics at Chalmers.

This news article was originally published by Chalmers's Department of Physics

Read the scientific paper Electron beam driven generation of frequency-tunable isolated relativistic sub-cycle pulses in Physical Review Letters


Evangelos Siminos, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, University of Gothenburg
+46 31 786 9161, evangelos.siminos@physics.gu.se

Illia Thiele, Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology,
+46 76 607 82 79, illia.thiele@chalmers.se

Tünde Fülöp,​ Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology
+46 72 986 74 40, tunde.fulop@chalmers.se

Photo of Evangelos Siminos: Adam Stahl
Photo of Tünde Fülöp: Johan Bodell
Photo of Illia Thiele: Mia Halleröd Palmgren ​​

BY: Mia Halleröd Palmgren


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Utskriftsdatum: 2020-06-04