UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy


Break-up of molecules interacting with XUV and X-ray laser pulses

We study exotic forms of matter formed during the fragmentation of molecules interacting with XUV and X-ray laser pulses.

We aim to explore the interaction of molecules with free-electron lasers (FELs), which are short-duration and short-wavelength pulses. FELs are a marvel of quantum technology and open new horizons for controlling the ultrafast motion of inner-shell electrons in fundamental processes far from equilibrium in chemical reactions and matter under extreme conditions. Our research explores electronic processes such as charge transfer, coherent ionization and formation of exotic states of matter with inner-shell holes during the break-up of FEL-driven molecules. 

oxygen k-shell photoionization cross-section
Our Ph.D students and Research Fellows receive ideal training in cutting-edge quantum-mechanical and computational techniques that describe processes at the forefront of laser-matter interactions. They develop quantum techniques and computational tools to significantly advance the state of the art in theory that addresses ultrafast processes in driven molecules. Also, they have the unique opportunity to collaborate with top experimental groups at the Max-Planck Institute in Heidelberg and at the Science Division at SLAC at Stanford University. Specifically, the techniques my group develops also provide the theory, we currently lack, to compliment cutting-edge experimental studies concerning ionization and coherent processes in molecules driven by intense and high photon energy pulses. We are always looking for Ph.D students and Research Fellows with a strong interest in atomic and molecular physics and in particular in the field of laser-matter interactions .

In the figure below we provide in the Hartree-Fock framework the photo-ionization delay of a core-electron when ionizing from the O site of NO; submitted to Nature (2023).