Atomic Physics

Faculty of Engineering, LTH

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Atomic Physics and RQ08

Below is given the assessment of the Division of Atomic Physics, cited directly from the full RQ08 report available on the official RQ08 page.

2.1.1 Overall assessment

This active group of 7 professors, 4 other staff members, and a good number of PhD students carries out world class research centered around laser spectroscopy with programs ranging from basic atomic physics, to biomedical optics, quantum optics, time-resolved X-ray diffraction and high-power laser- matter interaction. The division is participating in two Linnaeus grants. The overall quality of research as reflected through publications in high impact journals and pioneering contributions to the field is outstanding. In several areas such as ultrafast (picosecond) X-ray studies of lattice vibrations in complex solids, laser applications in biomedical photonic, and of attosecond quantum stroboscope in measurements such as the coherent electron scattering, the contributions of the Lund group are simply seminal. In short, this group can compete favourably with any other worldwide.

2.1.2 Research infrastructure

This division has access to several large experimental facilities, such as the Lund High Power Laser Center and MAX laboratory which is engaged also in the development of the free electron laser. These are state-of-theart facilities which offer a strong competitive edge to these scientists. The rating for the infrastructure is outstanding.

2.1.3 Research Quality

The overall research quality of this division is outstanding. An example is the development of one of the most flexible attosecond pulse sources in the world that can produce pulses with central energy varying from 20 to 80 eV and duration as small as 130 as, which can be used to probe ultrafast electronic processes. The group was among the first to carry out phase determination of electronic wave functions by interferometric techniques, and capture and control of the motion of electrons using a “quantum stroboscope” technique. Use of high-order harmonics in the development of time-resolved imaging techniques is another impressive achievement. Furthermore, the group’s pioneering work in time-resolved X-ray diffraction has enabled the examination of the inertial motion occurring during the first 2 ps when the bonds are severed in a semiconductor. The group has also participated in the first ground-breaking Panel 13 – PHYSICS / MATHEMATICS 356 experiments at the Stanford ultrafast picosecond source. The Quantum Information group within the division has been instrumental in developing quantum computing and quantum memory hardware based on rare-earth-ion-doped inorganic crystals.

2.1.4 Collaboration

Senior members of the Division of Atomic Physics appear to have a number of internal and external collaborations. The Lund Laser Center infuses interdepartmental collaborations also through Linnaeus programs. Several European Union grants are also instrumental in promoting international collaborations. There are existing collaborations with several groups in the US and very good contacts with the future x-ray free electron source at Stanford. Furthermore several of the groups have collaboration with industries and have created spin-off companies. The efforts of the group in this regard are very good.

2.1.5 Research activity and teaching

The division offers an impressive number of courses in almost all modern aspects of the research they carry out. This is very impressive as the development of these courses is by no means trivial. It reflects a commitment of behalf of the division professors to integrate research and education. The rating would be excellent.

2.1.6 Evaluation of future plans

Unfortunately, we were not provided with detailed information of the Division’s future plans. However, given the track record, it is difficult to imagine that they will not continue to carry out research and education at the highest levels, provided adequate resources are available. The combination of the Lund laser center and the upcoming possibilities at the MAX IV synchtrotron including the ultrafast source look extremely promising.

2.1.7 Future potentials and possibilities

Given the potential in the group to carry out pioneering research and given the outstanding research facilities, the panel would recommend that the group extend its borders further and engage in even more challenging projects through larger collaborative initiatives. Of course, that would require acquisition of more funds than presently available.


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