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First‑ever glimpse of photon‑electron coupling on the surface of an exotic crystal could eventually lead to use of light to manipulate quantum states of matter

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.

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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

For more information visit www.mit.edu.

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