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Theory of coherence in molecular photoionisation by few-femtosecond and attosecond laser pulses

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  • Full or part time
    Dr V Averbukh
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Applicants are invited to submit applications for a PhD project on the quantum coherence in molecular photoionisation by ulrashort laser pulses. This theoretical/computational project will be supervised by Dr Vitali Averbukh in the Quantum Optics and Laser Science (QOLS) Group at the Department of Physics of Imperial College London.

Availability of novel light sources, such as attosecond lasers and X-ray free electron lasers paves way to creation of coherent superpositions of cationic states of atoms, molecules and clusters in the course of the photoionisation process. Evolution of such coherent many-electron wavepackets leads to spectacular effects, such as few-femtosecond time scale electron hole migration across a polyatomic molecule [1,2]. However, strictly speaking, the wave function description is only applicable to the decomposing system as a whole: the outgoing electron and the remaining molecular cation. To what degree does the cation formed in a given photoionisation process can be said to possess a wave function is a burning open question to be addressed within this PhD project.

The computational work will be based on the first-principles many-electron theory that has its roots in the many-body Green’s function approach and has been recently adapted by our group to time-dependent many-electron wavepacket dynamics [3]. Further development of the method will require dedicated numerical work, while there will also be quite some scope for the development of analytical models to explore the limiting cases and aid interpretation. The research will be conducted in close collaboration with the experimentalists of the Blackett Laboratory Laser Consortium and planning of specific experiments both in the Consortium labs and at the X-ray free electron laser facilities is expected to result from this project.

Successful candidate will have a 1st or upper 2nd class degree (or equivalent) in Physics or a related discipline, with a strong interest in theoretical and computational physics, especially in many-body phenomena, as well as good programming skills. The studentship will commence in October 2016. For additional information, please contact Dr Vitali Averbukh ([email protected]).

To apply online, please follow the guidance at the QOLS web page:
Please mention the coherence in molecular ionisation as a subject and Dr Averbukh as a supervisor in your application. For help with the online application procedure, please contact Ms Marcia Salviato, [email protected] Tel: +44 (0)207 594 7862

Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion and a Stonewall Top 100 Employer 2011.The Department of Physics is also an IoP JUNO Champion and Athena Silver Swan Award Winner.

Valuing diversity and committed to equality and opportunity.

Funding Notes

Full funding is available for UK candidates only. Exceptionally strong EU candidates are advised to contact the supervisor to clarify the available funding opportunities.


[1] J. Breidbach & L. S. Cederbaum, J. Chem. Phys. 118 3983 (2003); F. Remacle & R. D. Levine, PNAS 103 6793 (2006).
[2] B. Cooper, V. Averbukh, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 083004 (2013); J. Leeuwenburgh, B. Cooper, V. Averbukh, J.P. Marangos, M. Ivanov,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 123002 (2013).
[3] M. Ruberti, V. Averbukh and P. Decleva, J. Chem. Phys. 141, 164126 (2014).

How good is research at Imperial College London in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 117.49

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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