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Early career distinction: Prestigious award recognizes physicist's work in electron dynamics
Date:8/29/2012

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- A Kansas State University professor has received a prestigious award for his research that could lead to faster electronics and affect communication technology.

Matthias Kling, assistant professor of physics, recently received the Early Career Research Program Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Kling will receive $750,000 to support his research titled "Electron Dynamics in Nanostructures in Strong Laser Fields."

The award is very competitive -- only 68 out of 850 applicants were chosen this year, according to the Department of Energy.

Kling will perform his research in a new laboratory space being built in the university's James R. Macdonald Laboratory. His work will focus on two aspects: studying how electron motion and nanomaterials can be controlled and developing ways to build devices that control electrons with the electric field of light waves.

For the first part of the project, Kling will explore the controlling of electrons in nanosystems -- the first step to improving electronics. If he can do so, it may speed up electrons by a factor of 100,000, which can greatly improve communication technology.

Currently, communication technology across oceans is transferred by optical fibers that can transmit information at the speed of light. This information must be coded and decoded by computers, which can slow down the technology. Kling's research may build the basis to remove this bottleneck.

"What we dream about is having optical devices where electrons are really controlled by the light waves themselves and we can use that to replace conventional electronics," Kling said.

For the second part of the project, Kling wants to not only control the electrons, but see them in action as well.

To observe the motion of electrons, Kling and his research team use attosecond time flashes to take "pictures" of electrons. An attosecond is one-billionth of a billionth of a sec
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Contact: Matthias Kling
kling@k-state.edu
785-532-1615
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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