TATA INstitute of fundamental research
Matter in Strong Optical Fields: From Molecules & Clusters to Living Cells
Monday, February 27, 2006
This talk will focus on recent studies that probe the dynamics of gas-phase molecules and clusters upon their exposure to high-intensity, pulsed optical fields. When the magnitude of the external field matches intra-molecular and intra-cluster Coulombic fields the dynamics, which relate to highly charged molecules and clusters, become highly nonlinear and theoretical treatments have to be non-perturbative. Several novel facets of the dynamics will be discussed, with reference to potential applications relating to the development of tabletop accelerators. The behaviour of single, living cells to strong optical radiation will also be discussed in the context of a new experimental programme that explores the interface of physics and biology. Again, novel and unexpected dynamics will be discussed, with particular reference to the potential for developing optically-driven, micron-sized, cellular motors and biosensors.