## Institut für Physik und Astronomie

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The importance of plasmonic heating for the plasmondriven photodimerization of 4-nitrothiophenol
(2018)

Metal nanoparticles form potent nanoreactors, driven by the optical generation of energetic electrons and nanoscale heat. The relative influence of these two factors on nanoscale chemistry is strongly debated. This article discusses the temperature dependence of the dimerization of 4-nitrothiophenol (4-NTP) into 4,4′-dimercaptoazobenzene (DMAB) adsorbed on gold nanoflowers by Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS). Raman thermometry shows a significant optical heating of the particles. The ratio of the Stokes and the anti-Stokes Raman signal moreover demonstrates that the molecular temperature during the reaction rises beyond the average crystal lattice temperature of the plasmonic particles. The product bands have an even higher temperature than reactant bands, which suggests that the reaction proceeds preferentially at thermal hot spots. In addition, kinetic measurements of the reaction during external heating of the reaction environment yield a considerable rise of the reaction rate with temperature. Despite this significant heating effects, a comparison of SERS spectra recorded after heating the sample by an external heater to spectra recorded after prolonged illumination shows that the reaction is strictly photo-driven. While in both cases the temperature increase is comparable, the dimerization occurs only in the presence of light. Intensity dependent measurements at fixed temperatures confirm this finding.

To understand the evolution and morphology of planetary nebulae, a detailed knowledge of their central stars is required. Central stars that exhibit emission lines in their spectra, indicating stellar mass-loss allow to study the evolution of planetary nebulae in action. Emission line central stars constitute about 10 % of all central stars. Half of them are practically hydrogen-free Wolf-Rayet type central stars of the carbon sequence, [WC], that show strong emission lines of carbon and oxygen in their spectra. In this contribution we address the weak emission-lines central stars (wels). These stars are poorly analyzed and their hydrogen content is mostly unknown. We obtained optical spectra, that include the important Balmer lines of hydrogen, for four weak emission line central stars. We present the results of our analysis, provide spectral classification and discuss possible explanations for their formation and evolution.

We report on light sensitive microgel particles that can change their volume reversibly in response to illumination with light of different wavelengths. To make the anionic microgels photosensitive we add surfactants with a positively charged polyamine head group and an azobenzene containing tail. Upon illumination, azobenzene undergoes a reversible photo-isomerization reaction from a trans- to a cis-state accompanied by a change in the hydrophobicity of the surfactant. Depending on the isomerization state, the surfactant molecules are either accommodated within the microgel (trans-state) resulting in its shrinkage or desorbed back into water (cis-isomer) letting the microgel swell. We have studied three surfactants differing in the number of amino groups, so that the number of charges of the surfactant head varies between 1 and 3. We have found experimentally and theoretically that the surfactant concentration needed for microgel compaction increases with decreasing number of charges of the head group. Utilization of polyamine azobenzene containing surfactants for the light triggered remote control of the microgel size opens up a possibility for applications of light responsive microgels as drug carriers in biology and medicine.

In this paper two groups supporting different views on the mechanism of light induced polymer deformation argue about the respective underlying theoretical conceptions, in order to bring this interesting debate to the attention of the scientific community. The group of Prof. Nicolae Hurduc supports the model claiming that the cyclic isomerization of azobenzenes may cause an athermal transition of the glassy azobenzene containing polymer into a fluid state, the so-called photo-fluidization concept. This concept is quite convenient for an intuitive understanding of the deformation process as an anisotropic flow of the polymer material. The group of Prof. Svetlana Santer supports the re-orientational model where the mass-transport of the polymer material accomplished during polymer deformation is stated to be generated by the light-induced re-orientation of the azobenzene side chains and as a consequence of the polymer backbone that in turn results in local mechanical stress, which is enough to irreversibly deform an azobenzene containing material even in the glassy state. For the debate we chose three polymers differing in the glass transition temperature, 32 °C, 87 °C and 95 °C, representing extreme cases of flexible and rigid materials. Polymer film deformation occurring during irradiation with different interference patterns is recorded using a homemade set-up combining an optical part for the generation of interference patterns and an atomic force microscope for acquiring the kinetics of film deformation. We also demonstrated the unique behaviour of azobenzene containing polymeric films to switch the topography in situ and reversibly by changing the irradiation conditions. We discuss the results of reversible deformation of three polymers induced by irradiation with intensity (IIP) and polarization (PIP) interference patterns, and the light of homogeneous intensity in terms of two approaches: the re-orientational and the photo-fluidization concepts. Both agree in that the formation of opto-mechanically induced stresses is a necessary prerequisite for the process of deformation. Using this argument, the deformation process can be characterized either as a flow or mass transport.

In a network with a mixture of different electrophysiological types of neurons linked by excitatory and inhibitory connections, temporal evolution leads through repeated epochs of intensive global activity separated by intervals with low activity level. This behavior mimics "up" and "down" states, experimentally observed in cortical tissues in absence of external stimuli. We interpret global dynamical features in terms of individual dynamics of the neurons. In particular, we observe that the crucial role both in interruption and in resumption of global activity is played by distributions of the membrane recovery variable within the network. We also demonstrate that the behavior of neurons is more influenced by their presynaptic environment in the network than by their formal types, assigned in accordance with their response to constant current.

In the study of relativistic jets one of the key open questions is their interaction with the environment on the microscopic level. Here, we study the initial evolution of both electron-proton (e(-)-p(+)) and electron-positron (e(+/-)) relativistic jets containing helical magnetic fields, focusing on their interaction with an ambient plasma. We have performed simulations of "global" jets containing helical magnetic fields in order to examine how helical magnetic fields affect kinetic instabilities such as the Weibel instability, the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (kKHI) and the Mushroom instability (MI). In our initial simulation study these kinetic instabilities are suppressed and new types of instabilities can grow. In the e(-)-p(+) jet simulation a recollimation-like instability occurs and jet electrons are strongly perturbed. In the e(+/-) jet simulation a recollimation-like instability occurs at early times followed by a kinetic instability and the general structure is similar to a simulation without helical magnetic field. Simulations using much larger systems are required in order to thoroughly follow the evolution of global jets containing helical magnetic fields.

Brownian yet non-Gaussian dynamics was observed. These are processes characterised by a linear growth in time of the mean squared displacement, yet the probability density function of the particle displacement is distinctly non-Gaussian, and often of exponential(Laplace) shape. This apparently ubiquitous behaviour observed in very different physical systems has been interpreted as resulting from diffusion in inhomogeneous environments and mathematically represented through a variable, stochastic diffusion coefficient. Indeed different models describing a fluctuating diffusivity have been studied. Here we present a new view of the stochastic basis describing time dependent random diffusivities within a broad spectrum of distributions. Concretely, our study is based on the very generic class of the generalised Gamma distribution. Two models for the particle spreading in such random diffusivity settings are studied. The first belongs to the class of generalised grey Brownian motion while the second follows from the idea of diffusing diffusivities. The two processes exhibit significant characteristics which reproduce experimental results from different biological and physical systems. We promote these two physical models for the description of stochastic particle motion in complex environments.

Recent advances in single particle tracking and supercomputing techniques demonstrate the emergence of normal or anomalous, viscoelastic diffusion in conjunction with non-Gaussian distributions in soft, biological, and active matter systems. We here formulate a stochastic model based on a generalised Langevin equation in which non-Gaussian shapes of the probability density function and normal or anomalous diffusion have a common origin, namely a random parametrisation of the stochastic force. We perform a detailed analysis demonstrating how various types of parameter distributions for the memory kernel result in exponential, power law, or power-log law tails of the memory functions. The studied system is also shown to exhibit a further unusual property: the velocity has a Gaussian one point probability density but non-Gaussian joint distributions. This behaviour is reflected in the relaxation from a Gaussian to a non-Gaussian distribution observed for the position variable. We show that our theoretical results are in excellent agreement with stochastic simulations.

Fixational eye movements show scaling behaviour of the positional mean-squared displacement with a characteristic transition from persistence to antipersistence for increasing time-lag. These statistical patterns were found to be mainly shaped by microsaccades (fast, small-amplitude movements). However, our re-analysis of fixational eye-movement data provides evidence that the slow component (physiological drift) of the eyes exhibits scaling behaviour of the mean-squared displacement that varies across human participants. These results suggest that drift is a correlated movement that interacts with microsaccades. Moreover, on the long time scale, the mean-squared displacement of the drift shows oscillations, which is also present in the displacement auto-correlation function. This finding lends support to the presence of time-delayed feedback in the control of drift movements. Based on an earlier non-linear delayed feedback model of fixational eye movements, we propose and discuss different versions of a new model that combines a self-avoiding walk with time delay. As a result, we identify a model that reproduces oscillatory correlation functions, the transition from persistence to antipersistence, and microsaccades.

Effects of the target aspect ratio and intrinsic reactivity onto diffusive search in bounded domains
(2017)

We study the mean first passage time (MFPT) to a reaction event on a specific site in a cylindrical geometry—characteristic, for instance, for bacterial cells, with a concentric inner cylinder representing the nuclear region of the bacterial cell. Asimilar problem emerges in the description of a diffusive search by a transcription factor protein for a specific binding region on a single strand of DNA.We develop a unified theoretical approach to study the underlying boundary value problem which is based on a self-consistent approximation of the mixed boundary condition. Our approach permits us to derive explicit, novel, closed-form expressions for the MFPT valid for a generic setting with an arbitrary relation between the system parameters.Weanalyse this general result in the asymptotic limits appropriate for the above-mentioned biophysical problems. Our investigation reveals the crucial role of the target aspect ratio and of the intrinsic reactivity of the binding region, which were disregarded in previous studies. Theoretical predictions are confirmed by numerical simulations.

Despite the ongoing progress in nanotechnology and its applications, the development of strategies for connecting nano-scale systems to micro- or macroscale elements is hampered by the lack of structural components that have both, nano- and macroscale dimensions. The production of nano-scale wires with macroscale length is one of the most interesting challenges here. There are a lot of strategies to fabricate long nanoscopic stripes made of metals, polymers or ceramics but none is suitable for mass production of ordered and dense arrangements of wires at large numbers. In this paper, we report on a technique for producing arrays of ordered, flexible and free-standing polymer nano-wires filled with different types of nano-particles. The process utilizes the strong response of photosensitive polymer brushes to irradiation with UV-interference patterns, resulting in a substantial mass redistribution of the polymer material along with local rupturing of polymer chains. The chains can wind up in wires of nano-scale thickness and a length of up to several centimeters. When dispersing nano-particles within the film, the final arrangement is similar to a core-shell geometry with mainly nano-particles found in the core region and the polymer forming a dielectric jacket.

Molecules often fragment after photoionization in the gas phase. Usually, this process can only be investigated spectroscopically as long as there exists electron correlation between the photofragments. Important parameters, like their kinetic energy after separation, cannot be investigated. We are reporting on a femtosecond time-resolved Auger electron spectroscopy study concerning the photofragmentation dynamics of thymine. We observe the appearance of clearly distinguishable signatures from thymine′s neutral photofragment isocyanic acid. Furthermore, we observe a time-dependent shift of its spectrum, which we can attribute to the influence of the charged fragment on the Auger electron. This allows us to map our time-dependent dataset onto the fragmentation coordinate. The time dependence of the shift supports efficient transformation of the excess energy gained from photoionization into kinetic energy of the fragments. Our method is broadly applicable to the investigation of photofragmentation processes.

We consider synchronization properties of arrays of spin-torque nano-oscillators coupled via an RC load. We show that while the fully synchronized state of identical oscillators may be locally stable in some parameter range, this synchrony is not globally attracting. Instead, regimes of different levels of compositional complexity are observed. These include chimera states (a part of the array forms a cluster while other units are desynchronized), clustered chimeras (several clusters plus desynchronized oscillators), cluster state (all oscillators form several clusters), and partial synchronization (no clusters but a nonvanishing mean field). Dynamically, these states are also complex, demonstrating irregular and close to quasiperiodic modulation. Remarkably, when heterogeneity of spin-torque oscillators is taken into account, dynamical complexity even increases: close to the onset of a macroscopic mean field, the dynamics of this field is rather irregular.

Passive coherent combination of several discrete low power laser diodes is a promising way to overcome the issue of degrading beam quality when scaling single emitters to > 10W output power. Such systems would be an efficient alternative to current high power sources, yet they suffer from fatal coherence loss when operated well above threshold. We present a new way to obtain detailed coherence information for laser diode arrays using a spatial light modulator to help identify the underlying decoherence processes. Reconstruction tests of the emitted far-field distribution are conducted to evaluate the performance of our setup.

Anomalous diffusion is being discovered in a fast growing number of systems. The exact nature of this anomalous diffusion provides important information on the physical laws governing the studied system. One of the central properties analysed for finite particle motion time series is the intrinsic variability of the apparent diffusivity, typically quantified by the ergodicity breaking parameter EB. Here we demonstrate that frequently EB is insufficient to provide a meaningful measure for the observed variability of the data. Instead, important additional information is provided by the higher order moments entering by the skewness and kurtosis. We analyse these quantities for three popular anomalous diffusion models. In particular, we find that even for the Gaussian fractional Brownian motion a significant skewness in the results of physical measurements occurs and needs to be taken into account. Interestingly, the kurtosis and skewness may also provide sensitive estimates of the anomalous diffusion exponent underlying the data. We also derive a new result for the EB parameter of fractional Brownian motion valid for the whole range of the anomalous diffusion parameter. Our results are important for the analysis of anomalous diffusion but also provide new insights into the theory of anomalous stochastic processes.

Background: Inferring regulatory interactions between genes from transcriptomics time-resolved data, yielding reverse engineered gene regulatory networks, is of paramount importance to systems biology and bioinformatics studies. Accurate methods to address this problem can ultimately provide a deeper insight into the complexity, behavior, and functions of the underlying biological systems. However, the large number of interacting genes coupled with short and often noisy time-resolved read-outs of the system renders the reverse engineering a challenging task. Therefore, the development and assessment of methods which are computationally efficient, robust against noise, applicable to short time series data, and preferably capable of reconstructing the directionality of the regulatory interactions remains a pressing research problem with valuable applications.
Results: Here we perform the largest systematic analysis of a set of similarity measures and scoring schemes within the scope of the relevance network approach which are commonly used for gene regulatory network reconstruction from time series data. In addition, we define and analyze several novel measures and schemes which are particularly suitable for short transcriptomics time series. We also compare the considered 21 measures and 6 scoring schemes according to their ability to correctly reconstruct such networks from short time series data by calculating summary statistics based on the corresponding specificity and sensitivity. Our results demonstrate that rank and symbol based measures have the highest performance in inferring regulatory interactions. In addition, the proposed scoring scheme by asymmetric weighting has shown to be valuable in reducing the number of false positive interactions. On the other hand, Granger causality as well as information-theoretic measures, frequently used in inference of regulatory networks, show low performance on the short time series analyzed in this study.
Conclusions: Our study is intended to serve as a guide for choosing a particular combination of similarity measures and scoring schemes suitable for reconstruction of gene regulatory networks from short time series data. We show that further improvement of algorithms for reverse engineering can be obtained if one considers measures that are rooted in the study of symbolic dynamics or ranks, in contrast to the application of common similarity measures which do not consider the temporal character of the employed data. Moreover, we establish that the asymmetric weighting scoring scheme together with symbol based measures (for low noise level) and rank based measures (for high noise level) are the most suitable choices.

We demonstrate in situ recorded motion of nano-objects adsorbed on a photosensitive polymer film. The motion is induced by a mass transport of the underlying photoresponsive polymer material occurring during irradiation with interference pattern. The polymer film contains azobenzene molecules that undergo reversible photoisomerization reaction from trans- to cis-conformation. Through a multi-scale chain of physico-chemical processes, this finally results in the macro-deformations of the film due to the changing elastic properties of polymer. The topographical deformation of the polymer surface is sensitive to a local distribution of the electrical field vector that allows for the generation of dynamic changes in the surface topography during irradiation with different light interference patterns. Polymer film deformation together with the motion of the adsorbed nano-particles are recorded using a homemade set-up combining an optical part for the generation of interference patterns and an atomic force microscope for acquiring the surface deformation. The particles undergo either translational or rotational motion. The direction of particle motion is towards the topography minima and opposite to the mass transport within the polymer film. The ability to relocate particles by photo-induced dynamic topography fluctuation offers a way for a non-contact simultaneous manipulation of a large number of adsorbed particles just in air at ambient conditions.

We introduce three strategies for the analysis of financial time series based on time averaged observables. These comprise the time averaged mean squared displacement (MSD) as well as the ageing and delay time methods for varying fractions of the financial time series. We explore these concepts via statistical analysis of historic time series for several Dow Jones Industrial indices for the period from the 1960s to 2015. Remarkably, we discover a simple universal law for the delay time averaged MSD. The observed features of the financial time series dynamics agree well with our analytical results for the time averaged measurables for geometric Brownian motion, underlying the famed Black–Scholes–Merton model. The concepts we promote here are shown to be useful for financial data analysis and enable one to unveil new universal features of stock market dynamics.

Complementarity in single photon interference – the role of the mode function and vacuum fields
(2017)

Background
In earlier experiments the role of the vacuum fields could be demonstrated as the source of complementarity with respect to the temporal properties (Heuer et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 114:053601, 2015).
Methods
Single photon first order interferences of spatially separated regions from the cone structure of spontaneous parametric down conversion allow for analyzing the role of the mode function in quantum optics regarding the complementarity principle.
Results
Here the spatial coherence properties of these vacuum fields are demonstrated as the physical reason for complementarity in these single photon quantum optical experiments. These results are directly connected to the mode picture in classical optics.
Conclusion
The properties of the involved vacuum fields selected via the measurement process are the physical background of the complementarity principle in quantum optics.

In this paper we report an experimental and computational study of liquid acetonitrile (H3C–C[triple bond, length as m-dash]N) by resonant inelastic X-ray scattering (RIXS) at the N K-edge. The experimental spectra exhibit clear signatures of the electronic structure of the valence states at the N site and incident-beam-polarization dependence is observed as well. Moreover, we find fine structure in the quasielastic line that is assigned to finite scattering duration and nuclear relaxation. We present a simple and light-to-evaluate model for the RIXS maps and analyze the experimental data using this model combined with ab initio molecular dynamics simulations. In addition to polarization-dependence and scattering-duration effects, we pinpoint the effects of different types of chemical bonding to the RIXS spectrum and conclude that the H2C–C[double bond, length as m-dash]NH isomer, suggested in the literature, does not exist in detectable quantities. We study solution effects on the scattering spectra with simulations in liquid and in vacuum. The presented model for RIXS proved to be light enough to allow phase-space-sampling and still accurate enough for identification of transition lines in physical chemistry research by RIXS.