Dr Maria Wächtler (r.) and Dr Daniil Kartashov investigate quantum dots and nanowires.

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The glow of atoms - About nonlinear optics in the nanoworld
Dr Maria Wächtler (r.) and Dr Daniil Kartashov investigate quantum dots and nanowires.
Image: Jens Meyer (University of Jena)

Nonlinear optics is a human-made branch of physics: If we had not developed high-performance lasers, we would not be able to gather enough protons to combine with electrons and form collective oscillations. If we did not have the intensity of femtosecond laser pulses, we would barely be able to generate light waves with a field strength high enough to make the matter itself glow, to change the colour of light, and to stimulate high harmonic oscillations through interactions with charge carriers. Teams of researchers from the University of Jena are investigating these interactions between light and matter at a collaborative research centre known as ›Nonlinear Optics down to Atomic Scales‹. They are particularly interested in finding out what happens when intense laser light hits individual atoms and tiny nanostructures, thus opening a new window into the nanoworld.

Here we can see a silver-plated silicon tip used to scan surfaces and materials. The metal tip significantly increases the sensitivity of Raman spectroscopy.
No light without matter
What is nonlinear optics anyway?
Replica of the first gas laser in Germany from 1962.
The oldest discipline in physics
Milestones in nonlinear optics​
Prof. Dr Ulf Peschel and Prof. Dr Stefanie Gräfe are spokespersons for the SFB "NOA".
Physical limits aren’t the end of the road
Scientific knowledge needs a theoretical foundation
Prof. Dr Isabelle Staude (r.) and physics doctoral candidate Tobias Bucher develop optical antennas.
Ultra-thin: Semiconductors made of one atomic layer
2D materials are being tailored with optical nano-antennas
Prof. Dr Carsten Ronning at an experimental set-up for photoluminescence spectroscopy.
When light and electrons shine together
»Spasers«: the smallest lasers in the world
Dr Daniil Kartashov (left) and Dr Maria Wächtler are working with nonlinear optical methods.
Stroboscopic imaging of ultrafast dynamics in nanomaterials
Extremely quick processes can be observed in tiny semiconductors
The team conducts the experiments with structures that are etched into nanometre-thin gold surfaces.
Chemical reaction close-ups
Nonlinear effects can intensify weak spectroscopic signals
Prof. Dr Thomas Pertsch examines nanostructured surfaces under a near-field microscope.
Top-level research with nanolight
Thin metal tips and optical fibres analyse finest structures
Prof. Dr. Andreas Tünnermann.
Jena on its way to the Quantum Valley
How the city and region are shaping up in quantum technology
Dr Frederik Tuitje (right) and Tobias Helk are preparing the laser plasma source for experiments.
Optical harmonics
Exploring the inside of plasma through high harmonic oscillations
Prof. Dr Gerhard Paulus, doctoral candidate Felix Wiesner and Dr Silvio Fuchs in a laser laboratory.
A closer look inside semiconductors
Short-wave UV light shines through materials non-destructively
Prof. Dr Silvana Botti and doctoral candidate Jens Renè Suckert are members of the research team.
Physics World: Breakthrough of the Year
A research team from Jena is paving the way for silicon lasers
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