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Unravelling the motion of electrons and nuclei in molecules

22.10.2021 01:06

Scientists at EPFL, lead by Branco Weiss Fellow Nikolay Golubev, have devised a way to unravel ultrafast motion of electrons and nuclei in a molecule in real time and with atomic spatial resolution. They achieved this by using a laser-based technology called Attosecond Transient Absorption Spectroscopy (ATAS). So far, the theory behind ATAS has been developed only for atoms or for molecules either in the absence of nuclear motion or in the absence of electronic coherence. The researchers at EPFL’s Laboratory of Theoretical Physical Chemistry (LCPT) have now extended ATAS theory to molecules, including a full account of the correlated electron-nuclear dynamics. The results show that this spectroscopy technique has sufficient resolution to “see” the follow-up decoherence of electron motion caused by the molecule’s nuclear rearrangement. The findings of the LCPT researchers could also help our understanding of various other “attochemistry” phenomena.

Read the news on the EPFL website

Read the paper on the APS physics website