Research report 2021 - Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society

Controlling material properties through out-of-equilibrium phase transitions

Authors
Laurenz Rettig
Departments
Physikalische Chemie, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin
Summary
Defining element of phase transitions is the form of the free-energy landscape, and ordered phases are defined by its minima. However, many questions regarding the precise form and properties of these energy landscapes and the microscopic dynamical processes across phase transitions remain open. Using ultrashort laser pulses, we have investigated the energy landscapes of various materials to illuminate the mechanisms behind the phase transitions. Aiming at manipulating materials properties on ultrafast time scales, this approach e.g. paves the way towards novel data storage possibilities.

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