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Breakthrough in ultrafast spectroscopy

A team of researchers led by FRIAS Fellow Frank Stienkemeier have published their research findings on two-dimensional (2D) spectroscopy of isolated nanosystems in the gas phase in Nature Communications.
Breakthrough in ultrafast spectroscopy

© Lukas Bruder

All processes in nature are controlled on an atomic and molecular level and often take place in less than one trillionth of a second (1 picosecond = 10-12 seconds). Two-dimensional (2D) spectroscopy is an ideal method to analyze these microscopic mechanisms, such as the energy conversion in photovoltaics or photosynthesis. It accounts for an extremely high time resolution in the femtosecond range (10-15 seconds) and provides more detailed information when compared to other methods.

So far, this method has been restricted to complex condensed systems like liquids. For the first time, the research team led by Prof. Frank Stienkemeier and Dr. Lukas Bruder has now succeeded in applying 2D spectroscopy to special isolated systems in the gas phase. For the experiment, the researchers used superfluid helium droplets that are produced in at ultrahigh vacuum conditions. The droplets are only a few nanometers in size and serve as a substrate to synthesize molecular structures from individual constituents and analyze these using 2D spectroscopy. "The key to these experiments has been the combination of several specialized techniques that improved the measurement sensitivity of 2D spectroscopy. It was only possible for us to study isolated nanosystems in this way", L. Bruder explains.

Bruder, L., Bangert, U., Binz, M., Uhl, D., Vexiau, R., Bouloufa-Maafa, N., … Stienkemeier, F. (2018). Coherent multidimensional spectroscopy of dilute gas-phase nanosystems. Nature Communications, 9(1), 4823. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07292-w

Further information can be found here

The research project was funded by the international DFG-funded graduate school "CoCo" and the ERC project "COCONIS". Further information on the research project can be found here