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Diffractive imaging of ultrafast light-induced dynamics on the nanoscale

Date Do, 01.02.2018 - Do, 01.02.2018
Time 14:00
Speaker Dr. Daniela Rupp, MBI Berlin
Location ETHZ, Hönggerberg Campus, HPF G-6
Program The excitation of nanoparticles, such as clusters and nanodroplets, with intense laser pulses provides a well-defined scenario to study the correlated dynamics of highly excited matter. Via diffractive imaging of single nanoparticles in free flight with XUV and X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs), we are able to explore the light-induced dynamics with high spatial and temporal resolution. From the measured diffraction patterns, formed by the interference of elastically scattered photons, the nanoparticle’s structure can be determined. This technique allows the study of non-depositable specimen, such as superfluid helium nanodroplets, and the observation of structural changes, e.g. ultrafast melting. Even faster electron dynamics also change the scattering response and can therefore in principle be mapped by diffractive imaging.
By tuning the FEL wavelength to electronic resonances of the cluster material, we were able to trace characteristic features of the formation and evolution of a nanoplasma in the diffraction images, but the dynamics could not be temporally resolved with the 100 femtosecond FEL pulses. While sub-femtosecond pulses are under development at FELs, isolated attosecond XUV pulses and attosecond puls trains can already be achieved with high-harmonic-generation (HHG) sources based on intense femtosecond lasers, but they are typically orders of magnitude weaker than FELs. Very recently we demonstrated single-particle single-shot diffractive imaging of individual helium nanodroplets with a high-intensity HHG source (Rupp et al., Nature Communications 8, 493 (2017)). The results of our experiments, combined with the rapid development of today's XUV and X-ray lasers, provide a clear pathway to map excitation and charge separation processes in nanoscale matter on their natural time scale.
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