Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


UDynI Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 307964
Gefördert unter: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Land: Italy

Mid-Term Report Summary - UDYNI (Ultrafast Dynamic Imaging of Complex Molecules)

High-order harmonics are generated when molecules are ionized by an intense very short laser pulse. Since light is an oscillating electromagnetic field, the electron ionized by the laser is accelerated and, because of the periodic oscillation of the field, is brought back to the molecular ion where it can recombine and release all its energy as extreme ultraviolet (XUV) radiation. The spectrum of this radiation shows periodic peaks called high-order harmonics. Such XUV radiation has been shown to contain information on the electronic structure of the molecule, which can be interpreted as a tomography (in other words, a tridimensional picture) of the molecular orbital.

The Udyni project has the ambitious goal to exploit this effect for imaging in real-time the evolution of molecular orbitals, the key structures determining how molecules interact with the surrounding environment. In these last two and a half years we established a new laboratory for performing molecular imaging, by implementing innovative instrumentation and methodologies. We were able to build a pulsed mid-infrared laser source capable of generating high-order harmonics in the molecular targets at a high repetition rate. Such pulses are ideal candidates for extending the tomography of molecular orbitals to fragile and complex molecules. As a first step we demonstrated the application of molecular orbital tomography to acetylene, showing the applicability of this technique to organic compounds.

The intrinsic complexity of this method has hindered so far its wide application. By developing novel experimental and theoretical approaches in collaboration with several international groups, we are now moving towards the realization of a "molecular movie" with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolutions.

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