Research Areas

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Sciences

This research area supports theory and experiments to understand structural and dynamical properties of atoms, molecules, and nanostructures. The research emphasizes the fundamental interactions of these systems with photons and electrons to characterize and control their behavior. These efforts aim to develop accurate quantum mechanical descriptions of properties and dynamical processes of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale matter. The study of energy transfer within isolated molecules provides the foundation for understanding chemical reactivity, i.e., the process of energy transfer to ultimately make and break chemical bonds. Topics include the development and application of novel, ultrafast optical probes of matter, particularly x­ray sources; the interactions of atoms and molecules with intense electromagnetic fields; and studies of collisions and many-body cooperative interactions of atomic and molecular systems, including ultracold atomic and molecular gases. Capital equipment funding is provided for items such as lasers and optical equipment, unique ion sources or traps, position-sensitive and solid-state detectors, control and data processing electronics, and computational resources.

The knowledge and techniques produced by this research area form a science base that underpins several aspects of the DOE mission. New methods for using photons, electrons, and ions to probe matter lead to more effective use of BES synchrotron, nanoscience, and microcharacterization facilities. Similarly, the study of formation and evolution of energized states in atoms, molecules, and nanostructures provides a fundamental basis for understanding elementary processes in solar energy conversion and radiation-induced chemistry.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart.pdf file (46KB) and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Krause.

Last modified: 9/12/2014 8:54:11 AM