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Department of Physics

Uwe ThummUwe Thumm named Femtosecond and Attosecond Science and Technology fellow at national Swiss research center

Uwe Thumm, professor of physics, has been appointed Femtosecond and Attosecond Science and Technology fellow at the Swiss National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology (MUST).

The Swiss center is an interdisciplinary research program launched by the Swiss National Science Foundation in 2010. It brings together 15 Swiss research groups working in ultrafast science across the fields of physics and chemistry and aims  to create new experimental and theoretical tools and to apply them to unravel the fastest processes in the physics and chemistry of natural and man-made matter.

Find out more at http://www.nccr-must.ch/home.html.

The FAST Initiative is a key element of NCCR MUST. The FAST Initiative aims to establish a Technology Platform for Femtosecond and Attosecond Science and Technology at the ETH Zürich, in collaboration with PSI, the University of Bern and the other Swiss Universities. This new center of excellence is to become a focal point for interdisciplinary research, collaborations, education, and technology transfer in ultrafast science. MORE at http://www.nccr-must.ch/fast/fast_initiative.html)

As a FAST fellow, Thumm is invited to collaborate at the ETH Zürich with leading experimental group in Ultrafast Laser Physics and to give lectures on Femto- and Attosecond physics during the Fall 2014 semester. In recent years, Thumm’s research group at the J.R Macdonald Laboratory and the Department of Physics at Kansas State University has focused on developing numerical models for the time-resolved probing of ultrafast process in atomic, molecular, and surface physics (http://www.phys.ksu.edu/personal/thumm/RESEARCH/PUBLICATIONS/publications.html. These include the study of the laser-induced bound and dissociative motion of small molecule and their fragments and of the dynamics of photoelectron emission from atoms in the gas phase and from metal surfaces.

While the motion of atoms in small molecules occurs at a time scale of tens of femtoseconds (one femtosecond = 10-15 seconds), the new field of attosecond science targets ultrafasts processes that proceed at the attosecond time scale (one attosecond = 10-18 seconds). Both research areas, femto- and attosecond physics, were initiated by breathtaking advances in laser technology over the past two and the past decade, respectively, and now enable scientists at the J. R. Macdonald Laboratory at KSU (jrm.phys.ksu.edu) and other leading ultrafast laser laboratories worldwide to record “molecular” and “atomic movies”, frame by frame, with intense ultrashort femto- and attosecond laser pulses taking stroboscope-like snapshots of moving atoms in molecules and even electrons in atoms. This research holds promise of enhancing our understanding, probing, and controlling the formation and braking of chemical bonds, with possibly very strong impact on basic and applied research in physics, chemistry, catalysis, and biology.