Controlling events at the atomic and molecular scales through<br/><br/>Hamiltonian manipulation

Monday, March 2, 2009 - 2:00pm - 2:30pm
EE/CS 3-180
Herschel Rabitz (Princeton University)
Since the development of the laser some 40 years ago, a long
standing dream has been to utilize this special source of
radiation to manipulate dynamical events at the atomic and
molecular scales. Hints that this goal may become a reality
began to emerge in the 1990's, due to a confluence of concepts
and technologies involving (a) control theory, (b) ultrafast
laser sources, (c) laser pulse shaping techniques, and (d) fast
pattern recognition algorithms. These concepts and tools have
resulted in a high speed instrument configuration capable of
adaptively changing the driving laser pulse shapes, approaching
the performance of thousands of independent experiments in a
matter of minutes. Each particular shaped laser pulse acts as
a Photonic Reagent much as an ordinary reagent would at the
molecular scale. Although a Photonic Reagent has a fleeting
existence, it can leave a permanent impact. Current
demonstrations have ranged from manipulating simple systems
(atoms) out to the highly complex (biomolecules), and
applications to quantum information sciences are being pursued.
In all cases, the fundamental concept is one of adaptively
manipulating quantum systems. The principles involved will be
discussed, along with the presentation of the state of the