Events in physical chemistry.

Probing Attosecond Electron Dynamics with X-ray Free Electron Lasers

Abstract: Electron motion is a key ingredient of chemical reactions and is also the means by which light energy is harnessed in photochemistry. The natural timescale for such electronic motion is typically in the range of tens to hundreds of attoseconds in small molecular systems. Consequently, the study of ultrafast electronic phenomena requires the generation of laser pulses shorter than 1 fs, and of sufficient intensity to interact with their target with high probability.

Ultrafast Dynamics of Molecular Vibrational Polaritons for Chemistry and Quantum Technology

Abstract: Molecular vibrational polaritons are hybrid half-light, half-matter quasiparticle under vibrational strong coupling. These hybrid quasiparticles not only inherit properties of both photons and matter, but also processes unique new photonic and molecular phenomena, including tilting chemical potential landscapes of reactions, adding new energy transfer pathways and strong photonic interactions. Many of these developments hinge on the fundamental understanding of the physical properties of molecular vibrational polaritons.

Computing vibrational spectra of Van der Waals molecules when the harmonic approximation is useless

Abstract: In a Van der Waals complex two or more monomers are loosely bound by weak forces. The standard harmonic approxi- mation which is effective for nearly rigid polyatomic molecules cannot be used to understand the spectrum of a Van der Waals complex. New ideas and numerical methods are required. I shall outline the difficulty of computing (ro-)vibrational spectra of Van der Waals molecules and present numerical methods for doing so.

Will It Move? Investigating Uranium(VI) Sorption and Mobility in Future Nuclear Waste Repositories

Abstract: The long-term storage of nuclear waste poses a series of scientific and technical challenges. One question to resolve is how we can best minimize and predict the release of radioactive contaminants into the environment after waste canisters have degraded.  Environmental risk assessments for nuclear waste repositories will have to cover wide field scales and a timespan over at least 100,000 years.

What 2DIR Can Tell Us About Complex and Heterogeneous Biophysical Systems


While two-dimensional infrared (2DIR) spectroscopy has been useful for studying properties of peptides and proteins, many of those results were made on “clean”, homogenous samples. My lab’s long-term goal is to turn the sensitive and ultrafast observables of 2DIR into useful image contrast agents for complex biophysical systems, where they can answer questions related to solvation dynamics and molecular structure that few other imaging methods can address. To that end, I will present three projects from my lab that move us closer to this goal.


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