Department of Physics and Astronomy

Vision

Research on light-matter interactions at the atomic level for understanding and control of electronic properties for molecules and liquids and for new functional materials.

Fundamental and applied research

1: We use light from synchrotrons, lasers, high harmonics sources and X-ray free electron lasers to study the fundamentals of molecules and liquids. We investigate the dynamics and structure of free atomic, molecular and cluster species to liquids surfaces and biological samples.

2: We characterize functional materials at an atomic level. Our aim is to connect various functional materials aspects with specific atomic species, chemical environments and time-response scale. This will enable us to design materials of desirable properties.

3: We develop and use X-ray based methodology for understanding electronic structure at the atomic level. An important emphasis of the research efforts is the development of state-of-the-art instrumental techniques concomitant with the exploration of the various scientific problems.

Scientific approach

Atomic structure and dynamics of electrons determines the properties of matter and defines the conditions for physical (optical, electrical, magnetic) and chemical processes. A basic understanding - and ultimately control - of the relationship between the atomic structure and dynamics of electrons is therefore a prerequisite for knowledge-based design of new functional materials. Such understanding requires studies of the interaction between photons and electrons in atoms, molecules and condensed matter in their natural length (Ångström) and time (atto/femtosecond) scales under real practical conditions.

X-ray-based methods are central here as they provide access to the interaction between photons and electrons at the atomic level. The explosive development in this area offers new possibilities for spatial and temporal resolution. To take advantage of such developments for the fundamental understanding of the design of new high performance functional materials also requires monitoring of the conditions that are essential for the function. This requires detailed knowledge in specific areas of research. Therefore one needs different types of methodology developments, one more spectroscopy-based and one more system-based. Unique to the present research program is that we are leaders in both of these areas of expertise. We will thus be able to effectively take advantage of the new developments for our targeted studies in molecular and condensed matter physics, while further strengthening interdisciplinary research at Uppsala University.