The 2001 Lectures in Chemistry and Physics: Ultrafast Processes, Methods and Applications

The field of molecular sciences is witnessing a revolution. From elementary reaction dynamics to protein folding, new physical tools are being exploited to study molecular structures and dynamics in chemistry and biology. The great strides made in both spatial and temporal resolution, down to the atomic scale, provide new opportunities to elucidate the nature of elementary processes in complex molecular systems and to relate dynamics and structures to function in real systems at the most fundamental level (*).

What would a football match on TV be without "slow motion" revealing afterwards the movements of the players and the ball when a goal is scored? Chemical reactions are a similar case. The chemists' eagerness to be able to follow chemical reactions in the greatest detail has prompted increasingly advanced technology. 1999 laureate in Chemistry, Ahmed H. Zewail, has studied atoms and molecules in "slow motion" during a reaction and seen what actually happens when chemical bonds break and new ones are created.

Zewail's technique uses what may be described as the world's fastest camera. This uses laser flashes of such short duration that we are down to the time scale on which the reactions actually happen - femtoseconds (fs). One femtosecond is 10-15 seconds, that is, 0.000000000000001 seconds, which is to a second as a second is to 32 million years. This area of physical chemistry has been named femtochemistry.

Femtochemistry enables us to understand why certain chemical reactions take place but not others. We can also explain why the speed and yield of reactions depend on temperature. Scientists the world over are studying processes with femtosecond spectroscopy in gases, in fluids and in solids, on surfaces and in polymers. Applications range from how catalysts function and how molecular electronic components must be designed, to the most delicate mechanisms in life processes and how the medicines of the future should be produced.

Towards the future with femtochemistry(**)

The inauguration lectures will be given by Prof. Ahmed Zewail, Linus Pauling Chair and Director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Nobel Prize (1999) in Chemistry.

(*) Taken from "Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Caltech"
(**) Taken from "Nobel E-museum" ,the official Web site of the Nobel Foundation

A. Zewail
Prof. of Chemistry and Prof. of Physics,
Linus Pauling Chair and Director of the NSF Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
Nobel Prize (1999) in Chemistry.

G. Gerber
Prof. of Physics, University of Wuerzbung.

E. Moudrianakis
Prof. of Biology/Biophysics, John Hopkins University and University of Athens.

I. Perakis
Assoc. Prof. of Physics, University of Crete, and Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas.

F. Kitsopoulos
Assoc. Prof. of Chemistry, University of Crete and Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas.

D. Charalambidis
Assoc. Prof. of Physics, University of Crete and Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas.

Monday 2 July

09:00 - 10:00 R e g i s t r a t i o n
  10:00 - 10:30 Welcome speech
by Prof. E.N. Economou
  10:30 - 11:30 "The Ultrafast realm -- Exploring New Frontiers" by A. Zewail
Inaugural LECTURE
  11:30 - 11:45 b r e a k
  11:45 - 12:45 "Wave-Packet Dynamics Studied in Femtosecond Laser Experiments" by G. Gerber
  12:45 - 13:45 "Chemical Dynamics via Photoelectron and Photofragment Imaging" by T. Kitsopoulos

Tuesday 3 July

09:00 - 10:00 "Femtosecond Pulse Shaping by An Evolutionary Algorithm with
Feedback" by G. Gerber
  10:00 - 11:00 "Optimal Control of Molecular Femtochemistry" by G. Gerber
  11:00 - 11:15 b r e a k
  11:15 - 13:15 "Generation and applications of Ultra - short laser pulses" by D. Charalambidis

Wednesday 4 July

09:00 - 11:00 "Ultrafast nonlinear optical phenomena in condensed matter physics" by I. Perakis
  11:00 - 11:15 b r e a k
  11:15 - 12:15 "Time resolved Photoelectron Imaging" by T. Kitsopoulos
  12:15 - 13:15 "Dynamics and Control at The Atomic Scale" by A. Zewail
  20:00 "The Greek Influence on Scientific revolutions" by A. Zewail

Thursday 5 July

09:00 - 11:00 "rapid Process of Photosynthesis: From Photophysics to the Utilization of the Protonmotive Potential for ATP production" by Moudrianakis
  11:00 - 11:15 b r e a k
  11:15 - 12:15 "recent Developments in Braking the 1fs Barrier" by D. Charalambidis
  12:15 - 13:15 "New Developments in Imaging Experiments: Slice Imaging and Photoloc Velocity Mapping" by T. Kitsopoulos

Friday 6 July

09:00 - 13:00 T. Kitsopoulos, D. Charalambidis
    Experimental Demostration, FORTH Lab