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M. Mattern, J.-E. Pudell, J. A. Arregi, J. Zlámal, R. Kalousek, V. Uhlíř, M. Rössle, and M. Bargheer

Accelerating the Laser-Induced Phase Transition in Nanostructured FeRh via Plasmonic Absorption

Advanced Functional Materials, 2313014 (2024).

By ultrafast x-ray diffraction (UXRD), it is shown that the laser-induced magnetostructural phase transition in FeRh nanoislands proceeds faster and more complete than in continuous films. An intrinsic 8 ps timescale is observed for the nucleation of ferromagnetic (FM) domains in the optically excited fraction of both types of samples. For the continuous film, the substrate-near regions are not directly exposed to light and are only slowly transformed to the FM state after heating above the transition temperature via near-equilibrium heat transport. Numerical modeling of the absorption in the investigated nanoislands reveals a strong plasmonic contribution near the FeRh/MgO interface. The larger absorption and the optical excitation of the electrons in nearly the entire volume of the nanoislands enables a rapid phase transition throughout the entire volume at the intrinsic nucleation timescale.

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C. Henkel

Rectified Lorentz Force from Thermal Current Fluctuations

Physics 2024, 6, 568–578

In a conducting medium held at finite temperature, free carriers perform Brownian motion and generate fluctuating electromagnetic fields. In this paper, an averaged Lorentz force density is computed that turns out to be nonzero in a thin subsurface layer, pointing towards the surface, while it vanishes in the bulk. This is an elementary example of rectified fluctuations, similar to the Casimir force or radiative heat transport. The results obtained also provide an experimental way to distinguish between the Drude and so-called plasma models

M. O. Adesina, M. O. Alfred, H. Seitz, K. Brennenstuhl, H. M. Rawel, P. Wessig, J. Kim, A. Wedel, W. Koopman, C. Günter, E. I. Unuabonah and A. Taubert

Orange peel biochar/clay/titania composites: low cost, high performance, and easy-to-reuse photocatalysts for the degradation of tetracycline in water

Environmental Science: Water Research Technology, 2024, Advance Article (DOI: 10.1039/d4ew00037d)

New orange peel biochar/clay/titania nanocomposites (NCs) were studied for photocatalytic degradation of tetracycline (TET) under both UV and natural solar irradiation by variation of NC dose, initial TET concentration, ionic strength, and competing anions. Total organic carbon (TOC) reduction was used to assess mineralization. Intermediate product formation during TET degradation was characterized using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and agar-based diffusion assays. The as-synthesized material prepared with biochar obtained at 600 °C (C600KT) exhibits the best TET degradation performance under UV light exposure and solar irradiation with up to 92 and 89% after 2 h, respectively. Especially under UV exposure, C600KT exhibits the highest apparent rate constant of 2.9 × 10−2 min−1 and a half-life of 23.9 min. About 60 and 50% TOC are removed after 2 h under UV and solar irradiation, respectively. Quenching experiments confirm that superoxide and hydroxyl radicals are the major reactive species involved in the degradation process. Furthermore, the treated effluents are harmless to both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus xylosus, indicating that no intermediate products with higher toxicity are produced during the photocatalytic degradation. Additionally, the results show that the main fraction of TET is degraded within the first 15 min of irradiation. The C600KT composite is recyclable and retains its performance over at least four cycles, proving its stability and reusability. Overall, the new NCs are therefore highly attractive for the remediation of TET pollution in water.


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A.R. Ramos, E.W. Fischer,  P. Saalfrank, and O. Kühn

Shaping the laser control landscape of a hydrogen transfer reaction by vibrational strong coupling. A direct optimal control approach

Journal of Chemical Physics, 2024, 160 (7), 074101. 

Controlling molecular reactivity by shaped laser pulses is a long-standing goal in chemistry. Here, we suggest a direct optimal control approach that combines external pulse optimization with other control parameters arising in the upcoming field of vibro-polaritonic chemistry for enhanced controllability. The direct optimal control approach is characterized by a simultaneous simulation and optimization paradigm, meaning that the equations of motion are discretized and converted into a set of holonomic constraints for a nonlinear optimization problem given by the control functional. Compared with indirect optimal control, this procedure offers great flexibility, such as final time or Hamiltonian parameter optimization. A simultaneous direct optimal control theory will be applied to a model system describing H-atom transfer in a lossy Fabry–Pérot cavity under vibrational strong coupling conditions. Specifically, optimization of the cavity coupling strength and, thus, of the control landscape will be demonstrated.

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E.W. Fischer, J.A. Syska, and P. Saalfrank

A Quantum Chemistry Approach to Linear Vibro-Polaritonic Infrared Spectra with Perturbative Electron–Photon Correlation

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2024 15 (8), 2262-2269

In the vibrational strong coupling (VSC) regime, molecular vibrations and resonant low-frequency cavity modes form light−matter hybrid states, vibrational polaritons, with characteristic infrared (IR) spectroscopic signatures. Here, we introduce a molecular quantum chemistry-based computational scheme for linear IR spectra of vibrational polaritons in polyatomic molecules, which perturbatively accounts for nonresonant electron−photon interactions under VSC. Speci cally, we formulate a cavity Born− Oppenheimer perturbation theory (CBO-PT) linear response approach, which provides an approximate but systematic description of such electron−photon correlation e ects in VSC scenarios while relying on molecular ab initio quantum chemistry methods. We identify relevant electron−photon correlation e ects at the second order of CBO-PT, which manifest as static polarizability-dependent Hessian corrections and an emerging polar- izability-dependent cavity intensity component providing access to transmission spectra commonly measured in vibro-polaritonic chemistry. Illustratively, we address electron−photon correlation e ects perturbatively in IR spectra of CO2 and Fe(CO)5 vibro-polaritonic models in sound agreement with nonperturbative CBO linear response theory.

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