Atomic, molecular and laser physics

Atomic & molecular physics and laser physics constitute two of the school domain topics, they are roadmaps of a long-term collaboration between campuses and a keystone to the student’s training and career development.

Atomic & molecular physics

The study of ultrafast processes leading to electron and energy transfer on the atomic and molecular level is of utmost importance to understand, and ultimately control, the quantum efficiency of natural mechanisms occurring in (bio) molecular systems such as repairing radiation damage or light harvesting. The HELIOS projects in this domain topic extend studies from free molecular systems over molecules interacting with their surroundings to chemical reactions in a complex environment. A focus on exploiting tailored laser fields will be developed to steer and optimize charge and energy flows. The collaboration thus benefit from the combination of expertise within HELIOS on ultrafast light sources, sample delivery techniques for (micro)solvated environments, and advanced charged-particle detection and imaging schemes. The Hamburg and Lund research campuses offer a unique variety of advanced photon sources (attosecond light sources, free electron lasers, and synchrotrons), which allow us to propel investigations of molecular dynamics into completely new realms by bridging the gap between the molecular and the nanoscopic worlds.

Tracking electron dynamics in molecules in real time. Credit: ATTO group.

Laser physics

Ultrashort laser pulses are at the heart of modern science and technology, enabling very diverse applications, ranging from eye-sight correction to studying ultrafast electron dynamics in matter. Ultrafast laser systems are indispensable for Free Electron Laser facilities such as FLASH or X-FEL in Hamburg and represent important tools in state-of-the-art AMO, nano/bio- and molecular physics laboratories in Lund and Hamburg. Pushing advanced ultrafast light sources towards higher average power with shorter pulse durations and carrier- envelope phase stability is a long-standing grand challenge, representing a key aspect for ultrafast science and modern FEL technology. Fostering common developments at the cutting edge of modern laser technology by combining expertise in both Lund and Hamburg, while working together on challenging topics within nonlinear optics will strengthen existing collaborations and make new technology available to all collaborating partners.