General Research Theme
Chemical reactions are fascinating! Watching molecules being formed, changing shape, breaking up, and reassembling to form new molecules, means observing the life cycles - birth, evolution and aging, death and reincarnation - of all matter and substances around us. Some chemical transformations may take billions of years - others may be done in a few femtoseconds. This huge range of time scales is breathtaking!
We want to understand how chemical transformations happen in detail, from reactant molecule to product molecule and from initial quantum states to final quantum states. What are the physical mechanisms governing intramolecular and intermolecular energy transfer, the properties of reactive intermediates, unimolecular and bimolecular elementary reactions, supramolecular assembly, and photo-initiated chemistry? This is the realm of Chemical Reaction Dynamics, the forefront of Molecular Physical Chemistry studies.
We aim to develop comprehensive pictures of how chemical reactions proceed. To reach our goals, we use lasers from mid-infrared to ultraviolet wavelengths to unravel and visualize molecular dynamics. With ultrashort laser pulses, we follow molecular motions on femto- to picosecond time scales. Using double and triple resonance laser spectroscopy at high resolution, we monitor transitions of molecules from quantum state to quantum state. We investigate how our state-of-the-art experiments compare to state-of-the-art theory. Working together, we can push our knowledge beyond existing frontiers and realize new and improved functions and applications.
Specific research topics range from the dynamics of biological molecules, including the DNA as the blueprint of life, via the exploration of tiny molecular switches and actuators, to the elucidation of basic elementary chemical processes in time- and quantum state-resolved molecular beam studies, from photophysical and photochemical applications to laser-based diagnostics for combustion and the environment. Our toolboxes which we apply include femtosecond spectroscopy, various types of vibration-rotation state-resolved spectroscopy, stimulated emission pumping, molecular beams, mass spectrometer and imaging detectors, synthetic chemistry and theory.
For more information see
- Laboratories and instrumentation
- Dynamics of photoexcited DNA and DNA building blocks
- Dynamics of photochromic molecular switches
- Functionalized nanoparticles
- Photodissociation dynamics
- Vibrational and rotational spectroscopy of molecules and radicals
- Unimolecular dynamics of molecules in highly vibrationally excited states
- Laser diagnostics