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Detecting defects with laser pulses

Research Achievements

Detecting defects with laser pulses

Stephanie Gilbert developed a method to quickly detect the presence of point defects using femtosecond laser pulses that can detect defect concentrations to almost 1/100,000 atoms. This technique is being used to study internal strain and interface properties, a common problem in thin film growth, with application in a variety of fields from photovoltaics to magnetic or spin-based information processing. By understanding the dependence between the change in optical response and number of defects, the extent of nearest neighbor interactions that propagate outward through the electronic structure surrounding a single point defect can be estimated. This can have great impact on the use of nanoscale devices, since as the size scale decreases single defects have ever increasing influence.