Uwe ThummUwe Thumm Receives NSF Grant

Uwe Thumm, Professor of Physics, recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation Division of Physics Atomic Theory program for research on Attosecond Time-Resolved Quantum Dynamics in Atoms and Surfaces.  This award which began on September 1, 2011, is a continuing grant that started in 1996.

Funding for this project will support extraordinary recent advances in time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy that are beginning to enable investigations of atoms, molecules, clusters, and solids surfaces with an unprecedented resolution of their electronic dynamics, approaching one attosecond (one attosecond is a billionth of a billionth of a second). Investigations of the dynamics of electron emission from atoms and surfaces at the natural time scale of the electronic motion in matter relates to both established and emerging fields of research. The time-resolved study of the electronic dynamics in matter will promote the comprehensive understanding of i) elementary physical processes, such as single-electron and collective excitations and ii) the dynamics of electrons and electric fields in metals, semiconductor, adsorbate-covered surfaces, (bio-) molecules, and nano-particles. These research projects are likely to deepen insight into photochemical processes and chemical reaction dynamics at surfaces.


Supported by numerical modeling, attosecond time-resolved measurements promise to prepare, probe, and control electronic excitations and the formation and breaking of chemical bonds in complex systems. They thus promise to enhance our understanding at the most fundamental level of chemistry and the biochemical basis of life in general. These research efforts may have a transformative impact on emerging technologies, such as quantum computing, plasmonics, nanocatalysis, and artificial photosynthesis, thereby contributing to the development of efficient catalytic devices needed to secure our energy supply. These investigations also have a strong educational component and will train students and postdocs in applying concepts as well as mathematical and numerical techniques used in modern atomic, optical, surface, and computational physics.