CORDIS - EU research results

ATTOsecond Photochemistry: controlling chemical reactions with electrons

Project description

Attosecond science opens a new window to the control of photochemical reactions

Light-initiated chemical processes are widespread, and their applications span vital areas of molecular research ranging from medicine and computing to energy conversion. However, photochemical reactions are limited by the nature and finite number of excited electronic states of molecules and therefore often lack control and selectivity. To overcome this fundamental limitation, the EU-funded ATTOP project will bring recent technological advances in attosecond science to photochemistry and explore the emerging field of ‘atto-photochemistry’ using modeling approaches. The final goal is to develop general know-how in the design of molecular systems, electronic wave packets and attosecond experiments that will transform the outcome of photochemical reactions for various applications.


"ATTOP is a theoretical chemistry project that will explore the synergy between the two fields of attoscience and photochemistry. Chemical processes initiated by light are extremely widespread and their applications cover vital molecular research fields from medicine to computer science and energy conversion. However, photochemical reactions are limited by the nature and finite number of molecular electronic excited states. To overcome this fundamental limitation, ATTOP proposes to bring very recent technological progress in extreme ultrashort light pulses - attosecond science - to the field of photochemistry and to launch the unprecedented field of ""atto-photochemistry"". Indeed, light pulses of such short duration have a large spectral bandwidth and excite multiple electronic excited states in a simultaneous and coherent manner. This superposition, called an ""electronic wavepacket"", has a new electronic distribution and is thus expected to lead to a new reactivity. The following questions remain for now unresolved: what would be the reactivity of a molecule in these new types of electronic states that are becoming accessible experimentally? To what extent will the manipulation of an electronic wavepacket produced by an attosecond domain pulse transform the outcome of chemical reactions? As an emerging field, atto-photochemistry requires theoretical support right from the start. Thanks to the PI's unique combination of expertise in both theoretical attoscience and photochemistry, the ATTOP team will describe accurately chemical reactions induced by electronic wavepackets via attosecond domain pulses. The final aim of ATTOP is to develop a general know-how to design molecular systems, electronic wavepackets and attosecond experiments that transform the outcome of photochemical reactions for diverse applications. By doing so, atto-photochemistry will revolutionize photochemistry, with direct impact onto many other domains of molecular science."

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 496 142,50
75794 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 496 142,50

Beneficiaries (1)