The knowledge of the earliest time dynamics in molecular photophysics and photochemistry are critical because their role is to harness the energy from photons, initiating electronic and nuclear motion which is fundamental in many areas of science. Our ultimate goal is to understand the coupled electronic and nuclear dynamics induced by the absorption of photons by molecules, which leads first to attosecond electron excitation within the molecules, followed by nuclear motion in the femtosecond range. This eventually results in the breaking and making of chemical bonds on the picosecond timescale.
The past decade has seen the exciting birth of the first X-ray laser, the LCLS free electron laser (FEL) followed by other FELs around the world, leading to an explosion of new science, in the femtosecond and very recently in the attosecond regime. I will present our recent time-resolved experimental results using pump-probe technique with FELs to watch, in real time, the response of large molecules to intense X-rays as well as to examine the role of physical and chemical effects and how they lead to the timing of bonds breaking and bond forming.
Speaker: Nora Berrah, Univ. of Connecticut
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