Workshop on ultrafast science and femtochemistry

The workshop on ultrafast spectroscopy and femtochemistry organized within the framework of the PhoQuS@UW project at the Faculty of Physics UW (FPUW) took place on 29-30.09.2015. The goal of the workshop was to design experiments, test new ideas and plan the new research carried out in the laboratories of the Division of Optics FPUW, which have just been moved to the new building of the Faculty of Physics. Using the opportunity given by the PhoQuS@UW project the experimental setups in the laboratories will be rebuilt to improve them taking into account current frontiers and most interesting topics of ultrafast optical spectroscopy and femtochemistry.

During the workshop we hosted four world renowned specialists in the field : Philipp Kukura, Marcus Motzkus, Arnulf Rosspeintner and Eric Vauthey. Under the supervision of the specialists we learned various schemes of ultrafast time-resolved spectroscopy such as frequency upconversion fluorescence spectroscopy, stimulated Raman spectroscopy, microspectroscopy with shaped laser pulses and infrared transient absorption spectroscopy. We also designed several schemes of coherent control experiments which can be used to control the double hydrogen transfer process in organic molecules belonging to the family of porphycenes currently studied in the Division of Optics. New ideas, the knowledge and know-how shared by the specialists could be verified in practice and consolidated during practical exercises carried out in the laboratories (making use of numerous optical materials).

In addition to being involved in planning the research and designing the new experimental setups in the laboratories the specialists gave lectures during which they presented the most recent developments in femtosecond spectroscopy, microspectroscopy and quantum control. They also took part in two panel discussions devoted to expectations, challenges and perspectives of the field.

Topics of the specialists’ lectures:

  • Philipp Kukura (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) - Watching energy flow with time-domain vibronic spectroscopy

  • Marcus Motzkus (Heidelberg University, Germany) - Nonlinear micro-spectroscopy using tailor-made femtosecond laser pulses

  • Arnulf Rosspeintner (University of Geneva, Switzerland) - (Ultra)Fast Fluorescence Techniques - Selected Methods and Applications

  • Eric Vauthey (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Lecture 1: Ultrafast Photoinduced Processes at Liquid Interfaces: what is different from bulk solutions?

Lecture 2: Photoinduced electron transfer reactions: from simple model systems to complex molecular architectures.

Topics of panel discussions:

Future technology or just a catchy name - potential outcome of fashionable research
  • quantum control: expectations vs reality, will we ever control (useful) photochemical reactions?

  • femtobiology: is there anything femto- in nature?

  • coherent processes in photosynthesis: do they really exist? can we do better than nature?

  • subdiffraction microscopy, spectroscopic imaging microscopy - can they provide new insights into biology and medicine?

Challenges and perspectives of ultrafast science
  • what do we hope to find out using ultrafast techniques?

  • spectroscopist's dreams - what techniques do we need?

  • do we need to go atto?

  • can we do something really useful for the world (better solar cells, better medicines, …)?

29.09 - 01.10.2015