Researchers were able to shape the electric field of an attosecond pulse. Illustration: Jürgen Oschwald and Carlo Callegari

Chemical reactions are determined at their most fundamental level by their respective electronic structure and dynamics. Steered by a stimulus such as light irradiation, electrons rearrange themselves in liquids or solids. This process takes only a few hundred attoseconds, whereby one attosecond is the billionth part of a billionth of a second. Electrons are sensitive to external fields, so researchers can easily control them by irradiating the electrons with light pulses. As soon as they thus temporally shape the electric field of an attosecond pulse, researchers can control the electronic dynamics in real time.


A team led by Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Sansone from the Institute of Physics at the University of Freiburg shows in the scientific journal Nature how they were able to completely shape the waveform of an attosecond pulse.

Flexible electronic skin equipped with an array of giant magneto resistance sensors and complex electronics circuit designed and developed for sensing distribution of magnetic field. Photo: Masaya Kondo

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin. Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with external physical environment through numerous receptors interconnected with the nervous system. Scientists have been trying to transfer these features to artificial skin for a long time, aiming at robotic applications.

Let there be light – and it was directional: The world's first electrically powered Yagi-Uda antenna was built at the University of Würzburg's Department of Physics. Picture: Department of Physics

For the first time, physicists from the University of Würzburg have successfully converted electrical signals into photons and radiated them in specific directions using a low-footprint optical antenna that is only 800 nanometres in size. Directional antennas convert electrical signals to radio waves and emit them in a particular direction, allowing increased performance and reduced interference. This principle, which is useful in radio wave technology, could also be interesting for miniaturised light sources. After all, almost all Internet-based communication utilises optical light communication. Directional antennas for light could be used to exchange data between different processor cores with little loss and at the speed of light. To enable antennas to operate with the very short wavelengths of visible light, such directional antennas have to be shrunk to nanometre scale.

Quantum circuit, developed at the Walther-Meissner-Institut (WMI), which can be used to produce restricted microwave states. Image: Andreas Battenberg / TUM

An international team headed by physicists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has, for the first time ever, experimentally implemented secure quantum communication in the microwave band in a local quantum network. The new architecture represents a crucial step on the road to distributed quantum computing. As of yet, there are no universal quantum computers in the world. But for the first time, an international team led by TUM physicists Rudolf Gross, Frank Deppe and Kirill Fedorov has successfully implemented secure quantum communication in a local network – via a 35-centimeter superconducting cable.