Department of Chemical Sciences
School of Natural Sciences

February 20, 2019 at 2.30 pm in AG-69

Title :

Probing Ultrafast Chemical Dynamics Inspired by the Rhythms of Fireflies

Abstract :

Coherence phenomena arise from interference, or the addition, of wave-like amplitudes in phase [1]. While coherence has been shown to yield transformative new ways for improving function, advances have been limited to pristine matter, as quantum coherence is considered fragile. Here I will discuss how vibrational and vibronic wavepackets entrain ensembles of molecules, like the synchronized flashing of fireflies. I will discuss how this can be used to probe mechanisms of ultrafast dynamics and how in-step vibrational motion might be employed to control function on ultrafast timescales. I will give examples that include light-harvesting in photosynthesis, energy flow in organometallic molecules that is ‘wired’ by Fermi resonance, and ultrafast electron transfer in molecular systems. 

[1] Scholes, et al. “Optimal Coherence in Chemical and Biophysical Dynamics” Nature 543, 647–656 (2017).