DFG Priority Programme 1391 "Ultrafast Nanooptics"

Calls for Proposals

Bonn, (PresseBox) - The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme entitled "Ultrafast Nanooptics" (SPP 1391) in 2009. The programme will start its second three-year period in summer 2012.

The aim of this Priority Programme is to analyse and coherently control the spatiotemporal dynamics of electromagnetic excitations in metallic nanostructures and hybrid nanostructures consisting of metals in contact with optically active materials. In such systems, electromagnetic excitations show strong local enhancements and may exhibit interesting propagation effects. The coherent excitation of such nanostructures by ultrafast broadband light pulses adds the temporal degree of freedom and allows for controlling the spatiotemporal properties of nanolocalised fields. "Ultrafast nanooptics", the new field of research we envision, offers substantially more than the sum of high temporal and spatial resolution. Dynamic field-localisation, i.e. the control of fields in nanostructures with simultaneous nanometer spatial and femtosecond temporal precision, offers new and flexible means to control light matter interaction on the nanoscale. Understanding and manipulating these nanoscale field dynamics as well as their application for excitation of nanostructures are challenging tasks to be tackled in this programme, using both theoretical and experimental approaches.

In this programme, the combination of coherent broadband laser excitation and nanooptics shall provide a fundamentally improved microscopic understanding of the real-space dynamics of electromagnetic fields and the dynamics of quantum systems interacting with pure metallic and hy­brid nanostructures. Of specific importance will be the real-space transfer of coherent optical excitations in nanoscopic dimensions, the control of such excitations by phase- and polarisation-controlled ultrafast laser pulses, the nonlinear optical response induced in the nanostructures by such excitations as well as their coupling to adjacent quantum systems.

The major scientific goals of the Priority Programme "Ultrafast Nanooptics" are:

- Development of an understanding of the microscopic processes that govern the interaction between quantum systems and localised electromagnetic fields in complex nanosystems.
- Coherent control of electromagnetic fields on a <100 nm spatial and (sub-)femtosecond temporal scale.
- Tailoring the nanoscale propagation of local excitations in nanosystems with possible applications to, e.g. novel nanolasers.
- Application of specially designed nanoantennas and nanoemitters in ultrafast nanooptical devices.
- Enhancement of optical nonlinearities in novel nanostructures by tailoring ultrashort electromagnetic fields on the nanoscale.
- Exploitation of the newly developed ultrafast nanooptics methodology for applications in plasmonic information processing and quantum computation, nanosensing and other novel microscopy and spectroscopy methods.

To keep the focus of this programme sufficiently narrow and foster synergies between all participants, research solely related to the following topics will not be part of this programme:

- the fabrication of metallic or hybrid nanostructures
- conventional near- or far-field microscopy
- conventional surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy
- gas-phase or trap-based cluster physics
- coherent control of purely molecular systems, molecular switches
- nano-lithography

Proposals for the second and final three-year funding period should be submitted in English on paper (1 copy) and as PDF-files on CD-ROM (including the proposal and all appendices, e.g. publications) to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, attn. Dr. Karin Zach, 53170 Bonn

The evaluation workshop is planned for 25 - 27 April 2012 at the Physikzentrum in Bad Honnef.

Beginning in mid-October 2011 the DFG offers a number of its programmes in a modular structure. This "modularisation", which includes a revised guideline portfolio for the programmes affected, enables applicants to select the combination of funding modules they need to complete their research. New forms and guidelines will be available to facilitate this process. We request all participants to follow the revised guidelines portfolio while preparing their proposals.

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