RUN – The Nanoworld in Motion

A zoom into the nanocosm

Next generation high speed electronics and quantum technology requires a precise knowledge of how electrons move on ultrafast timescales.
Nature has found intriguing ways of collecting light based on ultrafast quantum dynamics of individual electrons, atoms and molecules.
Slow-motion movies of electronic orbitals or the nuclear frame may reveal the inner workings of chemical reactions.

Atoms and molecules RUN the world

All matter around us – from solids and modern nanostructures to living cells – is made of tiny elementary building blocks: atoms and molecules. Less than a billionth meter wide. Modern microscopes can directly visualize the atomic and molecular structure of matter in still images. 

Yet it is the incredibly fast motion of atoms, molecules, and electrons that yields the functions of new quantum materials, causes chemical reactions, and defines vital processes in a cell, but cannot be captured in still images. Such motion typically follows the intriguing laws of quantum mechanics. Modern natural and life sciences as well as nano- and biotechnologies depend on a detailed understanding of these dynamics, which occur on time scales as short as femtoseconds – a millionth of a billionth of a second.

The interdisciplinary Regensburg Center for Ultrafast Nanoscopy has been founded to resolve the fascinating quantum motion and interaction of the nanoscopic building blocks of matter directly in nanoscopic slow motion pictures. The world’s first microscopes visualizing molecular motion in actual real-space videos with atomic spatial and femtosecond temporal resolution have been developed in Regensburg. Further innovative ultrafast videography concepts are under development and will be employed to tackle the molecular quantum dynamics underlying key biological, chemical and physical phenomena. Starting from the smallest of dimensions, electronic, structural and spin-based dynamics are explored with increasing system size and complexity – ranging from single atoms to modern quantum materials. Long-sought-after insights for basic research and next-generation quantum technology.

To learn more about the detailed studies happening in the RUN, please see our publications, visit the webpages of our members and also check our graduate research training group GRK 2905.

The new research building was officially opened in May 2024 with an international symposium, a science-music crossover concert and an official opening ceremony with the Minister of Science and Arts.