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ERC Starting Grant for Peter Kraus

10 January 2022
Physicist Peter Kraus has received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) of 2 million euro, which includes an exceptional investment funding of 500.000 euro. The grant allows him to investigate the ideas put forward in the research proposal ‘Attosecond nanoscopy of electron dynamics in strongly correlated materials’ (ANACONDA). Kraus is assistant professor of physics at VU Amsterdam and a tenure-track group leader at ARCNL.

With this grant, Kraus wants to build the first attosecond microscope to follow ultrafast nanoscale material modifications between insulating and conducting states of a novel class of materials – the strongly correlated materials.

Understand strongly correlated materials
Kraus: “The attosecond microscope will provide pictures with a time resolution of a billionth of a billionth of a second (10-18 s, attosecond), and spatial resolution with a billionth of a meter (10-9 m, nanometer). This is needed to investigate and understand strongly correlated materials, which have drastically different properties than expected from conventional theories due to the complicated mutual interactions of their electrons.”

Ample applications
The materials investigated in ANACONDA can be triggered to switch their resistivity within femtoseconds (10-15 s) to attoseconds. According to Kraus, “the availability of attosecond and nanoscale visualization of electronics processes will have ample applications for investigating not only quantum materials, but also for real-life applications in the semiconductor industry, where current critical dimensions of chips are on the nanometer scale.”

Kraus leads the group “High-harmonic generation and EUV science”, which is part of the LaserLaB research group “Quantum Metrology and Laser Applications” at VU Amsterdam and located at ARCNL. He is happy about the opportunities for his research group: “The ERC grant will further help my co-workers to realize their ambitions, through hiring of new co-workers and additional investment funding. ANACONDA is a personal grant, but it will also help train a new generation of scientists.”

About the Starting Grant
The ERC uses the Starting Grants to support talented scientists in the early stages of their career in pursuing ground-breaking projects for a duration of five years. In total 397 early-career researchers won ERC Starting Grants. For more information please look at the ERC press release.

Image credit: Ivar Pel, ARCNL