Controlling and Tracking Electric Currents with Light

Agustin Schiffrin, Tim Paasch-Colberg, Martin Schultze

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter reviews the progress in switching rates of electric current in condensed matter systems. It discusses cases reaching from field‐effect transistors (FETs), which can control currents at frequencies (up to) the order of hundreds of gigahertz, to alloptical injection of currents with ultrashort, coherent pulsed radiation, which offers blistering control of electric currents at the frequency of lightwave oscillations–promising electronics with femtosecond switching times. The chapter discusses the specific proof‐of‐principle experiment, where an electric signal is generated and manipulated in a solid dielectric exposed to the strong electric field of a waveform‐controlled, few‐cycle, visible/near‐infrared (VIS/NIR) laser pulse. The electrical signals depend on the carrier‐envelope phase (CEP) of the ultrashort VIS/NIR pulses. The experiments discussed in the chapter suggests that the electronic properties of a wide‐bandgap material can be altered with a strong optical electric field, reversibly and in a timescale on the order of or smaller than 1fs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAttosecond Nanophysics
EditorsPeter Hommelhoff, Matthias F. Kling
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)9783527665624
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • carrier-envelope phase (CEP), electric currents, field-effect transistors (FETs), large bandgap materials, optical field control, optical-field-induced currents, strong-field-induced changes, ultrabroad-bandwidth control tool

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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