MIT researchers mixed photons from an intense laser pulse with an exotic surface electrons on a topological insulator. Their high-speed camera captured snapshots of the exotic state, from its generation to its rapid disappearance, a process lasting only a few hundred femtoseconds. They also found there were different kinds of mixed states when the polarization of the photons changed.
A sample of bismuth selenide, a topological insulator, is seen inside the test apparatus in Nuh Gedik's lab, ready to be studied using the team's femtosecond laser system and electron spectrometer. Photo: Bryce Vickmark
Nuh Gedik Photo: Bryce Vickmark
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