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Ultrafast Dynamics of Quantum Materials


We are a new research group at Aarhus University that exploits ultra-short pulses of laser light from across the entire electromagnetic spectrum to explore and control the properties of materials. Our focus is on understanding the properties of "quantum materials", materials that show interesting and unexpected phenomena at unusually high temperatures, such as high temperature superconductivity. By using photons that range in energy from 5 meV to 15 keV we can study atomic, spin and electron dynamics on nanometer lengthscales and femtosecond timescales. Our work exploits laboratory sources of laser light, as well as the use of X-ray lasers around the world. 

Interested in joining? 

Are you interested in joining our group as a Postdoc or PhD student, or for a masters or bachelor's project? If so, contact us now to discuss the possibilities.

New lab ready to go

Our second lab, with a 10 kHz femtosecond Spectra Physics laser is now up and running!


Publication Accepted

Our work, which uses hyperspectral coherent diffractive imaging to map out nanoscale spectra in VO2, has been published in Science Advances


New publication

Our work on using resonant inelastic X-ray scattering to probe long-lasting short-range spin excitations generated by light in the irridates, published in PNAS

Also don't forget to check out our preprint on the same material where expand on this work to show that light generates non-thermal long-lived spin defects.


New arXiv submission

Our latest work on using broadband reflection spectroscopy to measure the melting of magnetic order in the irridates is now available to read on the arXiv


New arXiv submission

Our latest work on using reflection anisotropy to measure the melting of orbital order in the manganites is now available to read on the arXiv


Latest publication

Our work on attosecond charge dynamics in TiS2, led by Jens Biegert at ICFO has been published in Applied Physics Reviews


New Group Member

Despite the difficulties of Covid, Khalid Siddiqui joins our group!

Khalid comes after completing a post doc at UC Berkeley, having obtained his PhD from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter.

Welcome Khalid


Equipment arrives at Aarhus

The equipment from Spain makes it way to the lab in Aarhus. Due to the size of our tables, we have to enter the building via the window. 

Carlsberg Foundation Young Researcher Fellowship

Simon has been awarded a Young Researcher Fellowship of Kr. 4,996,778 by the Carlsberg Foundation for studying "Coherence and Disorder in Light-Driven Phase Transitions


Update on the lab move

The transfer of the lab equipment from Spain to Denmark gets underway! After a few delays the moving company has collected our ERC funded lab and it is on its way!


Emmanuel Joins us in Aarhus

ICFO PhD student Emmanuel Amuah joins us in Aarhus to finish his PhD after recently passing the defense of his thesis proposal. Congratulations and welcome to the group!


CMG2020GEFES conference talk online

What Simon present some of the groups research at the "Ultrafast Dynamics and Transient States in Matter" session at the virtual CMD2020GEFES conference. The talk starts at approx. 1h20. 


The role of vibrational coherence in ultrafast phase transitions

New Publication

Our latest work entitled "Does VO2 host a transient monoclinic metallic phase?" is published in Physical Review X. 

This work is an experimental tour-de-force, led by former ICFOian PhD student Luciana Vidas, covers dynamics of the light-induced insulator-metal phase transition in VO2. Measurements captured the dynamics of the phase transition from femto- to mili-seconds and spectroscopy of the transient state was performed from the mid-IR to the soft X-ray region.  

Our work showed that, contrary to previous claims, the structural and electronic aspects of the phase transition remain "locked" together and it is not possible to generate a metallic monoclinic phase. We also show that the thermal energy in the lattice is key for understanding the ultrafast phase transition in VO2.


New Pre-Print

Our latest work on soft X-ray imaging and nanoscale spectroscopy of the insulator-metal phase transition in VO2 is now available on the arXiv. One of the few good things about the COVID crisis, Allan went through our old holography data and was able to implement a partial coherence algorithm to provide access to the complex refractive index, enabling us to obtain the exact spectra of our sample. 


New Group Member

Maurizio Monti becomes the first member of the Aarhus team after completing his PhD at the University of Warwick. Welcome Maurizio


CMD2020 Talk Online

Watch Allan Johnson's talk on hyper-spectral coherent diffractive imaging of the phase transition in VO2 for the CMD2020 virtual conference online now!