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OnderzoekVan Swinderen Institute

Physics: Dr. R. Moshammer, MPI Heidelberg: Atoms and molecules in the focus of intense laser pulses


09 October 2008 FWN-Building 5111.0080, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG, Groningen
Speaker: Physics: Dr. R. Moshammer
Affiliation: MPI Heidelberg
Title: Atoms and molecules in the focus of intense laser pulses
Date: 09-10-2008
Start: 16.00
Location: FWN-Building 5111.0080


The field of atomic, molecular and optical physics experiences a significant upturn driven by ongoing technological achievements. Prominent examples are the developments of short-pulse lasers, the generation of extremely intense VUV-radiation with free-electron lasers (FEL) and, last but not least, the development of modern many-particle imaging spectrometers. These so called ‘Reaction Microscopes’ have tremendously widened our possibilities to investigate the dynamics of atomic break-up reactions in time-dependent external fields. As a result, the response of atoms and molecules exposed to intense (up to 1016 W/cm2) ultra-short laser pulses has been probed on femtosecond (10-15 s) time-scales. Recent studies of the most basic atomic fragmentation reactions brought new insights, a couple of surprises and unexpected challenges to theory. In pump-probe experiments with small molecules the rotational and vibrational motion was followed in real-time and it is hoped that in near future even the formation of new bonds can be traced as function of time. In first experiments with VUV laser pulses at the FEL in Hamburg the simultaneous absorption of two or three photons has been studied, a regime that is completely unexplored up to now. It was found that the conformational and electronic structure of molecules can be explored in utmost detail with such intense VUV laser pulses. Presently, work is in progress to visualize, for the very first time, the breaking of chemical bonds as a function of time and, thus, to realize the dream of producing a “molecular movie”.

Last modified:12 September 2014 11.22 a.m.