We seek motivated undergraduates in our lab to address an outstanding and cross-cutting challenge of condensed matter/chemical/biological physics: how to achieve quantum control of magnetism and reveal highly non-equilibrium, â€œthermodynamically hiddenâ€ orders during femtosecond timescales? One example is a new paradigm discovered by our group called quantum femtosecond magnetismâ€”fs magnetic and electronic phase transitions driven by quantum spin flucations and laser-excited inter-atomic coherences (T. Li, et al., Nature, 496, 69, 2013). Such far-from-equilibrium many-body problems involve an extremely poorly-understood interplay between quantum coherence, strong correlation and nonlinearity.
This research aims to answer the current technological demand to bump the gigahertz switching speed limit of todayâ€™s magnetic memory and logic devices into the terahertz regime. This underlies the entire field of spinâ€“electronics and information storage/processing/communications devices. Our work will meet the challenge for condensed matter devices that can think ultra-fast, by all-optical quantum spin switching at terahertz (i.e. sub-picosecond) speeds.
Program mentor: Jigang Wang, Associate Scientist, Ames Laboratory and Assistant Professor, Iowa State University