B – Capturing emergent chemistry
Research Area B targets molecules of small to medium size which, despite their limited number of atomic constituents, already possess a large number of degrees of freedom. Emergent behaviour in these systems arises through an intimate coupling between the electronic and nuclear sub-systems, and may be further promoted through interaction with a solvent or surface environment.
In this Area the research groups will address the following central questions:
- Which are the key emergent degrees of freedom underlying chemical reactions?
- How can we use light to enforce a desired chemical reaction pathway?
- Can we predict, identify and control new collective states by utilizing strong light-matter coupling? Can we then tailor chemical processes or phase transitions using photons?
In comparison to Area A, the complexity is increased in Area B through the fact that in chemically reactive processes, the atomic positions are not quasi-harmonically confined; translational periodicity is broken. Emergence in chemistry rests on the resulting dynamical interplay of electronic and nuclear motions, which gives rise to collective degrees of freedom that underlie chemical reactions.
In order to identify and characterize the dynamical pathways taken by the key emergent degrees of freedom, we will utilize powerful X-ray and electron scattering and spectroscopy techniques, in close connection with theory. The resulting insights will provide critical clues for the development of effective optical control strategies for steering chemical reactions.
Achieving this dream of steering chemistry will have ramifications for both Areas A and C, where we ultimately aim to gain optical control over processes as diverse as protein conformation and function or competing phases in solids.
Participating research groups:
For more information about each scientist, please follow the individual links on our "Who we are" page.
- Prof. Ch. Bressler
- Prof. F. Calegari
- Prof. M. Drescher
- Prof. U. Frühling
- Prof. C. Herrmann
- Prof. F. Kärtner
- Prof. J. Küpper
- Dr. T. Laarmann
- Dr. M. Meyer
- Prof. R. J. D. Miller
- Prof. D. Pfannkuche
- Prof. N. Rohringer
- Prof. A. Rubio
- Dr. M. Ruggenthaler
- Prof. R. Santra
- Prof. A. Stierle
- Prof. M. Thorwart
- Dr. R. Welsch