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Laser pulses control single electrons in complex molecules
Date:9/1/2009

Predatory fish are well aware of the problem: In a swarm of small fish it is hard to isolate prey. A similar situation can be found in the microcosm of atoms and molecules, whose behavior is influenced by "swarms" of electrons. In order to achieve control over single electrons in a bunch, ultrashort light pulses of a few femtoseconds duration are needed. Physicists of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching and chemists of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt (LMU) in Munich succeeded for the first time to use light for controlling single, negatively charged elementary particles in a bunch of electrons. The scientists achieved a major milestone that they aimed for within the excellence cluster "Munich Center for Advanced Photonics" (MAP). They report their results in the journal "Physical Review Letters" (online version: EID 103/103002, 1. September 2009).

Electrons are extremely fast moving particles. In atoms and molecules they move on attosecond timescales. An attosecond is only a billionth of a billionth of a second. With light pulses that last only a few femtoseconds down to attoseconds it is possible to achieve control over these particles and to interact with them on the timescale of their motion. These short light pulses exhibit strong electric and magnetic fields influencing the charged particles. A femtosecond lasts 1000 times longer than an attosecond. In molecules with only a single electron, such as the deuterium molecular ion, their control with such light pulses is relatively easy. This was demonstrated in 2006 by a team of physicists including Professor Marc Vrakking and Dr. Matthias Kling from AMOLF in Amsterdam and Professor Ferenc Krausz in Garching (MPQ).

Scientists led by the junior research group leader Dr. Matthias Kling (MPQ) in collaboration with Professor Marc Vrakking (AMOLF) and Professor Regina de Vivie-Riedle (LMU) have managed to control and monitor the outer electrons from the valence s
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Contact: Prof. Dr. Regina de Vivie-Riedle
regina.de_vivie@cup.uni-muenchen.de
49-892-180-77533
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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