Coherence and disorder in light-driven phase transitions

Name of applicant

Simon Wall


Aarhus University


DKK 5,156,962



Type of grant

Semper Ardens: Accelerate


We aim investigate how femtosecond pulse of light can be used to generate forces that can control a materials phase dynamically, and ultimately enable material properties "on-demand". We plan to examine how coherence is transferred from a laser light pulses to atomic vibrations inside materials and how this coherence and its ultimate loss to disorder result in new material properties.


Currently our understanding of non-equilibrium processes in materials is very primitive, this is because our tools to look at materials on these timescales have been limited. We have developed a new range of techniques that enable us to look directly at electronic and structural dynamics on a range of length and time scales, enabling us to extract new information about how new properties emerge. By studying the roles of coherence and disorder with our new techniques, we will be able to observe why new properties emerge and why they are only transient.


This work will combine femtosecond laser experiments on materials performed in our laboratories at Aarhus University together with experiments at X-ray lasers in Germany, Japan and the USA. Combining an optical and X-ray approaches enables us to build complete pictures of material dynamics

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