"Probing atomic or molecular systems with ultrashort and near-optical lasers remains a tremendous challenge while their understanding exerts a significant impact on science and industry by enabling a series of cutting-edge techniques: the production of lasers with ever shorter wavelengths by high harmonic generation, analysis by laser induced electron diffraction, and orbital tomography, to quote just a few applications. This new field of physics and engineering, ""attosecond science"", investigates the motion of the electrons on their own time the time scale of motion. These laser-driven systems are perfect for the investigation of both quantum and classical approaches. The results obtained using both frameworks can be compared with actual up-to-date experimental results which are currently pursued world-wide. The project we are proposing concerns the classical mechanical treatment, which has been recognized as surprisingly accurate since the early 90’s because of the dominant role of electron correlation. The main advantage of the classical mechanical approximation is the power-law scaling of its representation with system size, compared with the exponential increase of complexity of quantum mechanics.
Our objective is to apply tools from chemical physics describing chemical reactions using transition state theory (a key element of chemical reaction theory) to sub-atomic processes involving a strong electron-electron correlation as encountered in attosecond science.
The project aims at linking mathematicians, physicists and chemists to build a unified theoretical framework to tackle the complex dynamics in laser-matter interactions. The proposed collaborative project will be coordinated by the Center for Theoretical Physics (CNRS) in Marseille (France) and will involve the School of Mathematics of the Loughborough University (UK), as well as the School of Physics and the School of Chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology (USA)."
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