When molecules or molecular materials are placed in the confined field of an optical mode which is resonant with a molecular transition, new hybrid light-matter states can be formed through strong coupling. This can occur even in the dark due to strong coupling with the vacuum electromagnetic field. The hybrid light-matter states are collective states involving a large number of molecules and they strongly modify the energy levels of the system. While light-matter strong coupling has been extensively studied in optics and quantum physics, the consequences for chemistry and molecular material properties are just beginning to be investigated. The overall aim of this proposal is understand in greater detail the fundamental properties of the hybrid light-matter states and to investigate the implications for the properties of molecules and materials. More specific objectives are:
1) Deepen our understanding of the hybrid light-matter states from a physical chemistry perspective, including the dynamics and the thermodynamics. This is absolutely essential to develop this subject into a useful tool for chemists and materials scientists.
2) Demonstrate that the chemical reactions, including enzymatic ones, in the ground state can be modified by selectively coupling individual vibrational modes involved in the chemistry. This could have consequences for site selective chemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis among others.
3) To further enhance molecular material properties, in particular functional solid state materials such as for organic electronics and photovoltaics. Here the key property is the extended nature of the hybrid light-matter state and the associated change in energy levels which modifies the absorption spectrum.
4) Explore the possibilities of modifying phase transitions of materials under strong coupling and of playing with the quantum features of the hybrid states such as their entanglement to study molecular processes with entangled molecules
Fields of science
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