Friday, May 20, 2016


In their latest paper, the Mukamel group studies how the vacuum field of a high-quality
optical nano-resonator can be used to manipulate the outcome of a
photochemical reaction. The method is demonstrated on Ahmed Zewail's celebrated
experiment with sodium iodide. Mukamel and his coworkers show that it
is theoretically possible to modify the outcome of a reaction when the
molecule is placed in a high finesse resonator. The key feature here
is that the quantum nature of light becomes relevant; The molecular potential
energy landscape is modified by the zero-point fluctuations of the
electric field. The relevant molecular states dressed by the field are known as polaritons.
This principle could be used in the future to create photonic catalysts, which
could, for example, be used to stabilize molecules from unwanted destruction by sunlight.
Conversely, the decomposition of pollutants could be catalyzed.
Read the original article here:
Markus Kowalewski, Kochise Bennett, and Shaul Mukamel,
"Cavity Femtochemistry: Manipulating Nonadiabatic Dynamics at Avoided Crossings",
J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 7, 2050.