New Laser-Driven Stop-Action Technique Help Scientists Tease Apart Complex Electron Interactions

Posted: Dec 21 2016, 10:01am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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New Laser-Driven Stop-Action Technique Help Scientists Tease Apart Complex Electron Interactions
This is a microscopic image of one of the bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide samples the scientists studied using a new high-speed imaging technique. Color changes show changes in sample height and curvature to dramatically reveal the layered structure and flatness of the material. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Laser Pulses aid Researchers in Deconstructing Electron Interactions

Laser pulses are a source that will aid researchers in the deconstructing of complex electron interactions.

Scientists have been studying high temperature superconductors. These are substances that carry electric current with no energy dissipation when they are cooled below a particular temperature.

The complex electron interactions that drive this property have also been under scrutiny. A huge challenge is sorting through the different interactions.

The electrons either interact with one another or they interact with other materials. Now a group of scientists have discovered a novel laser driven stop-action technique.

A very speedy intense pump laser gives electrons a blast of energy. Another probe laser measures the electrons’ energy levels and direction of movement.

By alternating the time period between the pump and probe lasers, a stroboscopic record could be built of how the interactions take place. It is all very much like a film that shows a climax and an anticlimax.

The whole action sequence is rather like the splash of a bowling bowl into a bucket of water and various pics of what occurs during this whole process. This technique is termed tr-ARPES.

When it is combined with complex analysis and simulation, the team of researchers were able to tease apart the various electron interactions. The different signals and interactions of electrons were all recorded with accuracy and fidelity.

Another distinct signal was also discovered. As the electrons give up their energy, they begin to cool down too. A certain kink or signature of the electron interaction is especially noteworthy.

This kink may have a lot to do with the superconducting qualities of the material. Yet this special condition exists even if the material is not a superconductor.

The scientists are still busy looking into the matter. They want to get to the bottom of this conundrum. They will hopefully solve the puzzle in the future.

The findings of this study described in a paper just published in Nature Communications.

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