Neff Public Lecture - 2008
Dr. Philip Bucksbaum
Ultrafast Quantum Control
Monday, March 31, 2008
The atomic bond rearrangement involved in
chemistry can take less than a picosecond, and the electrons that make these
bonds move in a few femtoseconds. Lasers can more than keep up with this: the
shortest laser pulses are high harmonics at about one-tenth of a femtosecond.
This means that ultrafast laser pulses can be strobe lights to freeze motion of
atoms in molecules, and electrons in atoms. We take this notion one step
further, illuminating molecules with intense and carefully shaped ultrafast
laser pulses, which can not only image but also control basic quantum processes
in atoms and molecules.