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28.01.13 - Prof. Ursula Keller just received an ERC grant for her Attoclock project

Clocking fundamental attosecond electron dynamics (Attoclock) is a powerful, new, and unconventional tool to study fundamental attosecond dynamics on an atomic scale. In her project Prof. U. Keller would like to explore the following key questions: How fast can light liberate electrons from a single atom, a single molecule, or a solid-state system? How fast can an electron tunnel through a potential barrier? How fast is a multi-photon absorption process? How fast is single-photon photoemission?

Many of these questions will undoubtedly reveal deeper and more detailed insights on the dynamics of some of the most fundamental and relevant optoelectronic processes, and spark more questions because there are still many unknown and unexplored areas around this topic. So far, theory has failed to offer definitive answers and simulations based on the exact time-dependent Schrödinger equation have not, in most cases, been possible. Therefore, approximations and simpler models must be used to capture the essential physics. Such semi-classical models will potentially help understanding attosecond energy and charge transport in larger molecular systems. The tunnelling process, charge transfer, and energy transport all play key roles in electronics, energy conversion, chemical and biological reactions, and fundamental processes important for improved information, health, and energy technologies. Prof. U. Keller and her team believe the attoclock can help refine and resolve key models for many of these important underlying attosecond processes.

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