Helmholtz Young Investigator Program, YIG

Time-resolved spectroscopy of photo-induced electron dynamics in nuclear transitions

The team investigating photo-induced electron dynamics in nuclear transitions is led by Dr. Andrea Trabattoni and founded by the Helmholtz society under the Helmholtz Young Investigator framework.

Laser-matter interactions offer a plethora of possibilities to understand and manipulate matter with help of light. One of the ultimate aims of these research activities is to include light-nucleus interactions in these studies and to use lasers to interact directly with the nucleus. The surrounding electrons play a crucial role in many light-induced nuclear transitions. For example, 7-Beryllium, that is an indicator of solar activity, decays by capturing an electron into the nucleus. Other isotopes decay by ex- citing electronic states or inducing ionisation. Laser light can be used to initiate, observe in real time, and potentially control these electro-nucleus energy transfers.

The research team focuses on establishing time-resolved spectroscopy of photo-induced electron dynamics in the study of nuclear transitions. To this purpose, advanced table-top laser sources and isotope sources are developed to photo-excite and study low-energy nuclear transitions. In addition, the mission of the project will be ultimately accomplished by employing cutting-edge free-electron lasers to trigger and control electron motions associated with nuclear excitations. A deep understanding of such processes is likely to have a huge impact on a large range of disciplines. For example, in future we may employ laser-induced electron dynamics to accelerate the production of medical isotopes or to affect the natural decay of radioactive nuclei, with immense benefit for medical and environmental sciences.