• Physics

  •  Dr. Margaret Murnane

    Kay Malmstrom Lecture in Physics

    2008 Lecture

    Dr. Margaret Murnane
    Fellow of JILA and Distinguished Professor of Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder
    Lecture Title: "How to Make Atoms Sing and Molecules Dance-Using Fast Light Pulses to Observe and Control Nature"

    In recent years there has been a revolution in the field of ultrafast science. Visible light pulses of only a few optical cycles in duration can now be generated from a simple laser. By amplifying these light pulses to high powers, visible laser beams can be converted into laser-like, coherent, x-ray beams. Moreover, using computer algorithms, we can teach a laser to generate an optimally-shaped light pulse, that allows us to control how an atom or a molecule responds to light. This allows us, for example, to channel laser energy into a specific x-ray wavelength, or to selectively excite vibrations in molecules, as a first step to controlling chemical reactions with light. Applications in high resolution x-ray biological and materials imaging will also be discussed.