Matter manipulation with extreme terahertz light: Progress in the enabling THz technology

Peter Salén, Martina Basini, Stefano Bonetti, János Hebling, Mikhail Krasilnikov, Alexey Y. Nikitin, Georgii Shamuilov, Zoltán Tibai, Vitali Zhaunerchyk, Vitaliy Goryashko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

15 Citations (Scopus)


Terahertz (THz) light has proven to be a fine tool to probe and control quasi-particles and collective excitations in solids, to drive phase transitions and associated changes in material properties, and to study rotations and vibrations in molecular systems. In contrast to visible light, which usually carries excessive photon energy for collective excitations in condensed matter systems, THz light allows for direct coupling to low-energy (meV scale) excitations of interest. The development of light sources of strong-field few-cycle THz pulses in the 2000s opened the door to controlled manipulation of reactions and processes. Such THz pulses can drive new dynamic states of matter, in which materials exhibit properties entirely different from that of the equilibrium. In this review, we first systematically analyze known studies on matter manipulation with strong-field few-cycle THz light and outline some anticipated new results. We focus on how properties of materials can be manipulated by driving the dynamics of different excitations and how molecules and particles can be controlled in useful ways by extreme THz light. Around 200 studies are examined, most of which were done during the last five years. Secondly, we discuss available and proposed sources of strong-field few-cycle THz pulses and their state-of-the-art operation parameters. Finally, we review current approaches to guiding, focusing, reshaping and diagnostics of THz pulses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-74
Number of pages74
JournalPhysics Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 12 2019


  • Alignment of molecules and action spectroscopy
  • Dirac materials and graphene
  • Dynamics of charge carriers
  • Focusing and diagnostics of THz light
  • Free-electron lasers and electron beams
  • Optical rectification and THz generation in plasma
  • Phonons and spins
  • THz acceleration and streaking
  • THz technology
  • Transition and synchrotron radiation
  • Transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Salén, P., Basini, M., Bonetti, S., Hebling, J., Krasilnikov, M., Nikitin, A. Y., Shamuilov, G., Tibai, Z., Zhaunerchyk, V., & Goryashko, V. (2019). Matter manipulation with extreme terahertz light: Progress in the enabling THz technology. Physics Reports, 836-837, 1-74.