Ultrafast Spectroscopy in the Elles Group

(Click here to see our group poster.)

Chemical reactions are all about making, breaking, and rearranging bonds. That process is relatively straight-forward if you consider only the reactants and products, but what happens during the reaction? In the Elles Group, we seek to answer this question at the molecular scale by studying the dynamics of solution-phase chemical reactions.

Our primary tool is a state-of-the-art ultrafast laser that delivers extremely short ( <35 fs) pulses of light. The laser pulses allow us to watch chemical reactions unfold on the timescale of atomic motion via time-resolved spectroscopy. 

In the simplest case, called pump-probe, one laser pulse excites the sample, then a second, time-delayed probe pulse records changes in the absorption spectrum as the 

Laser Work

system evolves. This transient absorption signal monitorsthe evolution of molecules along the reaction coordinate. 

Ultimately, we can even use what we learn about the reaction dynamics to selectively control the outcome of a chemical reaction!

 

 


Elles Group Highlights
  • A paper involving our collaboration with the Boskovic group is published in JOC (a new journal for this group!).
  • Visiting student Jamie Somers joins the group from Dublin City University for summer research. Welcome!
  • Our group is awarded beam time for ultrafast x-ray experiments at the LCLS in August.
  • Kristen wins the Takeru and Aya Higuchi Graduate Scholarship in Physical Chemistry. Great work, Kristen!
  • PJ wins the Cornelius McCollum Scholarship. Nice work, PJ!
  • Jessica and Rob earn departmental awards, great job!
  • Jessica presents a research poster for the Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Symposium.
  • Jessica Bair will attend graduate school at Chalmers University in Sweden. Good luck, Jessica!
  • Rob Castaneda will attend graduate school at the Univeristy of North Carolina. Good luck, Rob!
  • Read more by clicking here...
Funding Sources