Science and Engineering

Iowa State University

Jigang Wang, Zhe Fei, Paul Canfield, Costas Soukoulis
Ames, IA
June 2016

Advancing the fields of information processing, recording, storage and communication relies on pushing the switching speed limit and integration density of today’s logic and memory devices into the terahertz (THz, 1012 Hertz) and sub-20 nanometer (10–9 m) regime.  A team of researchers at Iowa State University aim to develop a novel approach to address this challenge.  Their new instrument, an Extreme Quantum Terahertz nanoscope, will combine scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) and ultrashort THz pulses that operate at temperatures down to 1.4 Kelvin and magnetic fields up to 7 Tesla.  The instrument will perturb and interrogate materials at the nanoscale to look for the emergence of quantum phases and phenomena at femtosecond (10–15 s) time scales.  The simultaneous measurement of space, energy, and time under extreme conditions breaks new ground for coherent control of quantum matter that is inaccessible in existing nanoscopy systems, and establishes the shortest time and smallest length scales for deterministic phase switching, all with minimal heating of the sample.  The combined power of the nanoscope will be initially used to understand and manipulate emergent electronic and magnetic properties in iron-based high temperature superconductors.

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