Our research group is currently focusing attention on several problems in theoretical chemical physics. Amongst these are:
Controlling Molecular Dynamics with Lasers: Controlling Molecular Processes with lasers is one of the most interesting of challenges in chemical physics. Our research group has been at the forefont of this area ever since its inception. We have applied our coherent control ideas to a wide variety of physical processes, including photodissociation, bimolecular collisions, current generation in molecular wires, nanodeposition of molecules on surfaces, transport down a spin chain, radiationless transitions, etc. Continuing efforts focus on unsolved control problems in molecular dynamics, such as laser control in open systems.
Quantum Dynamics on the Nanoscale: Quantum mechanics will participate in typical molecular processes if the system maintains matter coherence despite its interaction with an external environment. Efforts to understand and utilize quantum effects on the nanoscale, where decoherence effects are expected to be large, are underway. Of particular interest are (i) the theory of recent large-molecule experiments (e.g. in photosynthetic processes) that show unexpected degrees of electronic coherence, and (ii) the use of quantum coherence in semiconductor devices.
Issues in Quantum Mechanics: Classical mechanical ideas have played an important role in Chemistry. We continue to explore basic issues in quantum mechanics and their relationship to classical mechanics. Included are topics such as the origin of the Born rule, the underlying physics of the basic commutation relations, symmetry principles in quantum and classical dynamics, decoherence and entanglement, desciptions of open system dynamics in terms of simplified approaches, and classical and quantum chaos.