Quantum Cinema: 11.3 Million Euros for Super Slow-Motion Microscopy of Electrons
Observing incredibly fast quantum processes and chemical reactions at the highest resolution: That is the goal of the "Orbital Cinema" project, for which physicists from the coordinating Forschungszentrum Jülich and the universities in Marburg, Regensburg and Graz today received one of the prestigious Synergy Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). The researchers want to record for the first time the rapid movements of electrons in molecules in ultra-fast slow motion. This will provide revolutionary insights into the inner structure of quantum leaps and charge transfer processes and show how chemical reactions can be controlled by electric fields and light.
Electrons are fascinating particles. According to the strange laws of quantum mechanics, they have no exact location. Instead, they buzz around with a certain probability in areas of space also known as orbitals. The shape of these orbitals is reminiscent of balloons or soap bubbles that surround the atomic nuclei. The great scientific interest in these structures is due to the fact that orbitals are considered the key to a better understanding of chemical reactions and quantum processes, for example in quantum computers or solar cells.
The European Research Council ERC has now awarded the physicists Prof. Stefan Tautz JARA-FIT member from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Prof. Ulrich Höfer from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Prof. Rupert Huber from the University of Regensburg and Prof. Peter Puschnig from the University of Graz one of the highest European research awards for further research into these orbitals, a Synergy Grant worth 11.3 million euros. The prize can only be won as a team; with this prize category, the ERC supports scientifically groundbreaking endeavours by outstanding researchers that cannot be addressed by a single research group alone.
Further information is available on the website of Forschungszentrum Jülich: https://www.fz-juelich.de/en/news/archive/press-release/quantum-cinema-11-3-million-euros-for-super-slow-motion-microscopy-of-electrons