In a study published in Nature Physics: physicists have just demonstrated a new approach to controlling electrons with light. A European team, including researchers from Paris-Saclay, has induced electrons to move on a time scale of less than a femtosecond, i.e. less than a quadrillionth of a second. At present, our electronic components – based on silicon semiconductors – are activated in picoseconds – thousands of billions of seconds – a thousand times slower than a femtosecond. For years we have been trying to conduct electricity as quickly as possible. To achieve this, researchers have used laser pulses in particular: the idea is to use the ultra-fast light pulse to control the properties of the electrons. This is fundamental research – at the heart of one of the priority themes of the PALM lab – and it will take time to be able to apply these results. However, in the long term, this could push back the current limits of computer systems.
Interview with Marino Marsi, physicist at the Solids Physics Laboratory at the University of Paris Saclay, responsible for the Ultrafast theme. Work to which Andrei Borisov and Dana Codruta Marinica (ISMO) contributed.