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Mechanisms for Laser Control of Chemical Reactions Ben R. Torralva and Roland E. Allen

Summary: Mechanisms for Laser Control of Chemical Reactions
Ben R. Torralva and Roland E. Allen
Department of Physics, Texas A&M University,
College Station, Texas 77843, USA
During the past several years our group has developed and employed a new technique
for realistic simulations of the interaction of light with matter. Recent simulations of laser
pulses interacting with molecules clearly demonstrate the potential for control of chemical
reactions, through various mechanisms which include the following: (i) excitation of electrons
to states which have different bonding properties; (ii) control of electron populations through
a coherent pump-pulse, control-pulse sequence; and (iii) control of molecular vibrations
through a pump-control sequence. Significant chemical insights are gained when one can
watch a realistic animation of species interacting and reacting. One can monitor the time
evolution of electronic states and their occupancy, as well as the motion of the atoms. One
can also observe the evolution from reactants to products through transition states. Finally,
one can determine how this evolution is affected by the various properties of the laser pulses,
including intensity, duration, phase, and the interval between pulses.
1 Introduction
For decades, chemists have dreamed of using lasers to selectively control chemical reactions.
It was initially believed that by properly tuning the laser to the local mode frequency corre-


Source: Allen, Roland E. - Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas A&M University


Collections: Physics