Physics under high field

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Team leader : Angela Vella

Team members : A. Vella (Pr), D. Blavette (Pr), J. Houard (IR)


In less than a decade, there has been a tremendous explosion in the field of application of the tomographic atomic probe. Confined to metals at the beginning of the 2000s, the invention of SAT with ultra-short laser pulse in 2004 at GPM has opened the instrument not only to semiconductors, but also to oxides.  This allows this quantitative nano-analysis instrument to be almost unavoidable in fields as diverse as microelectronics, photonics or nuclear. Very recently, this instrument has even been invited in other fields such as geology or biology. In all these disciplines the interest is the same, to be able to visualize in 3D at the nanometric scale the chemical composition with a good quantitativity (i.e. a reasonable precision on the composition). This theme explores the fundamentals of this particular instrument that is the atomic probe. Understanding the fundamental physical mechanisms of the atomic probe, which cover many fields (nano-optics, ultrafast thermics, quantum mechanics, radiation-matter interaction, solid state physics), allows to push the metrological characteristics of the instrument to their limits and opens the possibility of exploiting new modes of analysis. A simple example is the understanding of the surface metallization of oxides subjected to an intense electric field on an atomic probe sample. This understanding allows us to adapt the best analysis conditions to a sample. The focus of this theme is the physical understanding of the intense electric field effects occurring at the tip of the sample of interest, a nanometric apex tip, and this in all frequency ranges of excitation (DC electric field, GHz pulses, Thz pulses, IR-Visible-UV-Deep UV-Extreme UV laser pulse...)