Our research focuses on the investigation of matter in out of equilibrium conditions by means of spectroscopy, diffraction and imaging.
We study phase transitions by means of pump-probe methods to highlight the dynamical evolution of the order parameter. Our goal is to understand the microscopic details of such transformations as well as to develop the ability to control them via external parameters, such as light. A relevant example is the laser-induced switching of magnetic patterns in topological magnets, which we observed via time-resolved Lorentz Transmission Electron microscopy.
Recently, we succeeded to demonstrate the ability of individual laser pulses to write and erase magnetic skyrmions in FeGe nanostructures.
A major part of our research also concerns the manipulation of free electrons via laser pulses. This activity has a technique development aspect because it allows us to establish new experimental tools for ultrafast electron microscopy. At the same time, it enables the investigation of fundamental aspects of the interaction between light and electrons at the nanometer-attosecond scale. For example, we recently proposed a method to modulate the wavefunction of individual electrons down to the zeptosecond time-scale.
We also demonstrated the possibility to spatially pattern an individual electron wavefunction using light pulses to dynamically control their orbital angular momentum.
These studies offer new tools for studying the light and electron/matter interaction, potentially yielding new insights even in nuclear physics.