Standard time domain experiments measure the time evolution of the reflected/transmitted mean number of photons in the probe pulses. The evolution of the response of a material is typically averaged over the illuminated area as well as over many pump and probe measurements repeated stroboscopically. The aim of this project is to extend time domain optical spectroscopy beyond mean photon number measurements by performing a full Time Resolved Quantum State Reconstruction (TRQSR) of the probe pulses as a function of the pump and probe delay. The nature of the light matter interaction and the transient light-induced states of matter will be imprinted into the probe quantum state after the interaction with the material and can be uncovered with unprecedented detail with this new approach to time domain studies.
TRQSR will be implemented by combining pump and probe experiments resolving single light pulses with balanced homodyne detection quantum tomography in the pulsed regime. We will apply and exploit the unique capabilities of TRQSR to address two different unresolved problems in condensed matter. Firstly, we will investigate the coherent and squeezed nature of low energy photo-induced vibrational states. We will use TRQSR with probe pulses shorter than the phonon timescale to interrogate the time evolution of the vibrational state induced by the pump pulse. Secondly, we will address inhomogeneities in photo-induced phase transformations. With TRQSR we can perform time domain measurements with a very small photon number per pulse which will give information on the interaction between the material (as prepared by the pump pulse) and individual photons. In this limit, TRQSR will allow us to retrieve rich statistics. While the average will deliver the information of a standard pump and probe experiment, higher order moments will give information on the time evolution of spatial inhomogenieties in the transient state.
The project is organized along two main guidelines:
- Making Time Resolved Quantum State Reconstruction techniques (TRQSR) applicable to a large class of systems (WP1)
- Developing the scientific case of the novel spectroscopic approach exploring the quantum nature of vibrational states in condensed matter and inhomogenieties in light driven phase changes in transition metal oxides (WP2-5)
We will start a series of experiments addressing coherent and squeezed states in case study samples for insulators and conductors (WP2) and the homogeneities of photo- induced phase transformations in metal-insulator transition and in photo-excited superconductors (WP3). Both activities will be supported by theoretical calculation (WP4) and FEL based measurements (WP5)
Development of the new experimental technique capable of merging the two approaches of Carrier envelope phase stable pulses and time resolved measurement probe Wigner function.
A series of experiments addressing coherent and squeezed states in case study samples for insulators and conductors
Experiments addressing homogeneities of photo- induced phase transformations in metal-insulator transition and in photo-excited superconductors
A full quantum description of phonon-photon interactions in both pump and probe processes and of the dissipative and noisy effects on the phonon time evolution due to the presence of the external environment, provided by the other non phononic degrees of freedom of the target material. Microscopic models will be included too.
The presence of INCEPT within the Fermi project will be mutually beneficial. While the availability of a FEL source within the hosting lab will give us access to a unique spectroscopic tool, the spectroscopic tools we will develop within the INCEPT project will develop the scientific case for FEL based experiments.
The scientific coordination and the management will guarantee the effective realization of the tasks of each scientific work package and the continuous interaction between the theoretical and experimental groups, mandatory to validate the models and to test the devised strategies.