The Physics and Materials Science Research Unit (RU PhyMS) of the University of Luxembourg aims to develop a new research activity in ultra-fast laser spectroscopy. Currently, RU PhyMS explores a focused set of promising lines of research in condensed matter physics and materials science. Since innovative technical products depend critically on novel functional materials, our researchers investigate the properties of new promising materials such as nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, etc.), semiconductors for efficient solar cells, magnetic and multiferroic materials, polymers, bio-molecules, and composite materials. Some examples of these materials are shown in the right panel of Fig. 1 (Annex I to the application). Obviously, the detailed understanding of the exact atomic structure and the interaction forces between the composing entities (atoms, molecules, layers) is a prerequisite for the design of novel devices based on these materials. Ultra-fast laser spectroscopy is a novel method for materials characterization. The basic principle is described: an ultra-short laser pulse with a duration of a few femtoseconds (i.e., a wave-packet that lasts only a few periods of the oscillations of the laser field) is directed at a material. This first pulse causes an excitation of the material inducing characteristic movements of the electrons in the system and atomic vibrations. A second ultra-short pulse is sent with a certain time-delay. This so-called probe pulse will « feel » the changes that were induced by the first pulse. Performing the measurements with different time-delays, researchers can probe the interaction of light with matter in real time, which means that they can « see » the movements of electrons and atoms in materials. The method of ultra-short spectroscopy allows viewing the basic building blocks of novel materials with unprecedented accuracy. This extraordinary insight will enable researchers to decipher the microscopic mechanisms of light-absorption, transport of heat and electricity, reaction of materials to adsorption in chemical sensors, etc. The objective of this project is to install an internationally leading research group in ultra-fast spectroscopy at the University of Luxembourg. The group will further refine the methodology in order to acquire unprecedented and globally renowned expertise in this domain. It will perform blue-sky research in spectroscopy of novel and fascinating materials, and will build up collaborations with existing research groups at Luxembourg’s public research centers (in particular LIST) as well as industrial actors.

PI: Prof. Daniele Brida

People involved: Dr. Nicolò Maccaferri (until 12/2019), Ricardo Rojas Aedo, Pirmin Schweizer, Nicolas Tournier (until 01/2021), Robert Himelrick

Funding agency: ERDF

Max ERDF Funding (40%): 785864.98 euros


-Start date: 2018.01.01
-End date: 2022.12.31