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Quantitative sampling of atomic-scale electromagnetic waveforms

MPS-Authors
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Bonafé,  F.
Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;

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Sidler,  D.
Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons30964

Ruggenthaler,  M.
Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons22028

Rubio,  A.
Theory Group, Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;
Center for Computational Quantum Physics, Simons Foundation Flatiron Institute;
Universidad del País Vasco, UPV/EHU, San Sebastián;

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Citation

Peller, D., Roelcke, C., Kastner, L. Z., Buchner, T., Neef, A., Hayes, J., et al. (2020). Quantitative sampling of atomic-scale electromagnetic waveforms. Nature Photonics, xx(xx), xx-xx. doi:10.1038/s41566-020-00720-8.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-66A4-D
Abstract
Tailored nanostructures can confine electromagnetic waveforms in extremely sub-wavelength volumes, opening new avenues in lightwave sensing and control down to sub-molecular resolution. Atomic light–matter interaction depends critically on the absolute strength and the precise time evolution of the near field, which may be strongly influenced by quantum-mechanical effects. However, measuring atom-scale field transients has remained out of reach. Here we introduce quantitative atomic-scale waveform sampling in lightwave scanning tunnelling microscopy to resolve a tip-confined near-field transient. Our parameter-free calibration employs a single-molecule switch as an atomic-scale voltage standard. Although salient features of the far-to-near-field transfer follow classical electrodynamics, we develop a comprehensive understanding of the atomic-scale waveforms with time-dependent density functional theory. The simulations validate our calibration and confirm that single-electron tunnelling ensures minimal back-action of the measurement process on the electromagnetic fields. Our observations access an uncharted domain of nano-opto-electronics where local quantum dynamics determine femtosecond atomic near fields.