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Department of Physics

2008 James R. Neff Lecture

Dr. Philip Bucksbaum

Stanford University

Ultrafast Quantum Control

Monday, March 31, 2008
4:00 p.m.
Cardwell 102

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.