Attosecond physics: A keen sense for molecules

Munich based Laser physicists have developed an extremely powerful broadband infrared light source. This light source opens up a whole new range of opportunities in medicine, life science, and material analysis.

With the help of Infrared light, researchers are able to go in search of the small particles which shape and determine our lives. The phenomenon, in which infrared light sets molecules in vibration, is pivotal in this search. Scientists are exploiting this phenomenon by using infrared light to analyze the molecular makeup of samples. In the hope that this analysis can become even more exact, the laser physicists from the Laboratory of Attosecond Physics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics have developed an infrared light source that has an enormously broad spectrum of wavelengths.

With this system, which has an output power of 19 Watt, researchers have achieved the broadest simultaneous infrared coverage from a solid state laser. Moreover, the infrared laser pulses emitted should correspond to a sub-cycle pulse in time domain.

This new light source opens up countless opportunities for the physicists of better understanding the fundamental properties of solid and soft matter. The analysis of light spectrums after interactions with material with infrared spectroscopy and microscopy allows the more precise and accurate conceptualization of research methods.

The LAP team utilizes these methods for driving the so-called "Broadband Infrared Diagnostics" project. In the framework of this project, the scientists are interested in assessing the molecular makeup of blood and breath.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München