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Molecular Physics seminar

Atoms and Molecules in the Focus of Intense Laser Pulses

by Prof. Robert Moshammer (Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics)

Fa32 ()


So-called ‘Reaction Microscopes’ enable kinematically complete experiments of atomic and molecular break-up reactions with ultimate completeness. These ‘bubble chambers’ of atomic physics have tremendously widened our possibilities to investigate the many-electron quantum-dynamics under the influence of external time-dependent fields in various situations: The response of atoms and molecules on femtosecond (10-15 s) time-scales has been probed by exposing them to intense (up to 1016 W/cm2) ultra-short laser pulses. In pump-probe experiments the rotational and vibrational motion of small molecules was followed in real-time and it is hoped that in near future even the formation of new bonds can be traced as function of time. In first experiments with VUV laser pulses from the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg the simultaneous absorption of two or three photons has been studied, a regime that is completely unexplored up to now. In very recent experiments at FLASH it was found that the conformational and electronic structure of molecules can be explored in utmost detail with intense VUV laser pulses. Presently, work is in progress to visualize, for the very first time, the breaking of chemical bonds as a function of time and, thus, to realize the dream of producing a “molecular movie”.