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  Direct observation of electron propagation and dielectric screening on the atomic length scale

Neppl, S., Ernstorfer, R., Cavalieri, A. L., Lemell, C., Wachter, G., Magerl, E., et al. (2015). Direct observation of electron propagation and dielectric screening on the atomic length scale. Nature, 517(7534), 342-346. doi:10.1038/nature14094.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0024-B9AD-4 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0025-0BA0-6
Genre: Journal Article

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14094 (Publisher version)
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 Creators:
Neppl, S.1, Author
Ernstorfer, R.1, Author
Cavalieri, A. L.2, Author              
Lemell, C.1, Author
Wachter, G.1, Author
Magerl, E.1, Author
Bothschafter, E. M.1, Author
Jobst, M.1, Author
Hofstetter, M.1, Author
Kleineberg, U.1, Author
Barth, J. V.1, Author
Menzel, D.1, Author
Burgdorfer, J.1, Author
Feulner, P.1, Author
Krausz, F.1, Author
Kienberger, R.1, Author
Affiliations:
1external, ou_persistent22              
2Extreme Timescales, Condensed Matter Dynamics Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society, ou_1938294              

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Free keywords: Electronic properties and materials
 Abstract: The propagation and transport of electrons in crystals is a fundamental process pertaining to the functioning of most electronic devices. Microscopic theories describe this phenomenon as being based on the motion of Bloch wave packets. These wave packets are superpositions of individual Bloch states with the group velocity determined by the dispersion of the electronic band structure near the central wavevector in momentum space. This concept has been verified experimentally in artificial superlattices by the observation of Bloch oscillations—periodic oscillations of electrons in real and momentum space. Here we present a direct observation of electron wave packet motion in a real-space and real-time experiment, on length and time scales shorter than the Bloch oscillation amplitude and period. We show that attosecond metrology (1 as = 10−18 seconds) now enables quantitative insight into weakly disturbed electron wave packet propagation on the atomic length scale without being hampered by scattering effects, which inevitably occur over macroscopic propagation length scales. We use sub-femtosecond (less than 10−15 seconds) extreme-ultraviolet light pulses to launch photoelectron wave packets inside a tungsten crystal that is covered by magnesium films of varied, well-defined thicknesses of a few ångströms. Probing the moment of arrival of the wave packets at the surface with attosecond precision reveals free-electron-like, ballistic propagation behaviour inside the magnesium adlayer—constituting the semi-classical limit of Bloch wave packet motion. Real-time access to electron transport through atomic layers and interfaces promises unprecedented insight into phenomena that may enable the scaling of electronic and photonic circuits to atomic dimensions. In addition, this experiment allows us to determine the penetration depth of electrical fields at optical frequencies at solid interfaces on the atomic scale.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2014-09-152014-11-142015-01-142015-01-15
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 5
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/nature14094
 Degree: -

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Title: Nature
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Nature Publishing Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 517 (7534) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 342 - 346 Identifier: ISSN: 0028-0836
CoNE: /journals/resource/954925427238