The objective of this project is to set up an Initial Training Network on advanced techniques for ultrafast manipulation of atoms and molecules by strong femtosecond laser pulses. The project comprises a diverse range of applications of strong-field coherent control to ultrafast spectroscopy and microscopy; nuclear and electron wavepacket dynamics; alignment of molecules with applications to collisions, high harmonic generation and adsorption; characterization and control of dissipation; stabilization of cold atoms and molecules; quantum state and process tomography; and ultrafast information processing. The use of strong shaped femtosecond laser pulses opens a novel avenue to control of quantum dynamics via hitherto inaccessible physical mechanisms. The new control scenarios require the development of novel versatile femtosecond sources in the UV and VUV range of high shaping capabilities, to which a part of the research will be dedicated, with anticipated spin-offs of great multidisciplinary interest, e.g. in chemistry and biology. The combined expertise of the network - a joint effort of 10 universities and 3 industrial companies - represents the cutting edge of research and training in femtosecond light-matter interactions in Europe. The network will train 18 doctoral students and about 11 young postdoctoral researchers. The training activities will combine several dedicated instruments of network-wide training, capitalizing on their synergy with a backbone of specialized training inside the groups. The training program will be adapted to the ESRs, with elementary, advanced and expert phases initiated at the network schools and workshops. Prominent scientists from Europe and overseas, and industry leaders from the companies in the network and from outside, will contribute to the schools and workshops. Special attention will be focused on developing important complementary skills, such as communication, presentation, project planning and management.
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