University Latsis Award EPFL 2016

Prof. Fabrizio Carbone receives the University Latsis Award 2016

“For his major contributions in the field of femtosecond time resolved electron microscopy, and in particular in the dynamical study of the electronic and plasmonic excitations of solids.”

Microscopy is among the most dated techniques for observing nature at scales below the human eye’s abilities. Pictures of cells, viruses, microelectronic circuits or nano-­‐objects can be routinely obtained. In recent years, movies of molecular motions all the way down to the atomic spatial and temporal scale have been obtained with ultrafast X-­‐ray photons or electron sources. In our laboratory, we employ electron-­‐based techniques to film the transformation of materials and nanostructures upon light excitation. In particular, we can record movies of a form of light termed surface plasmon polariton (SPP), which holds promise for future applications in optoelectronic circuits.

Thanks to our novel methodology that allows to take snapshots of plasmonic fields projected onto space and energy coordinates, simultaneous spatial and spectroscopic information can be gained, providing a unique insight into the properties of electromagnetic fields confined in spaces smaller then their wavelength. Besides the ability of this technique to characterize SPPs, it also allowed to provide a snapshot of the electromagnetic field in which both its interference and quantization properties are visible. The use of light as a control parameter was also shown to allow for the spatial manipulation of such plasmonic fields in single nano-­‐wires and nano-­‐cavities.