FEMTO12 Manifesto

Molecules and atoms are the building blocks of nature and their chemical dynamics define the evolution of our world. Chemical bonds are made by valence electrons and have energies of a few electron volt (eV). Chemical reactions are mostly initiated by heat. The huge driving forces of chemical reactions are the strong intramolecular Coulomb forces, mediated by valence electron and nuclear dynamics.

Sometimes light is used to trigger chemical reactions, often by mimicking the sudden availability of thermal energy. Because light can be provide in ultrashort pulses with very high temporal precision, such pulses provide a well defined starting point of the reaction and allow to clock the ongoing following chemical dynamics. The resulting high temporal resolution make ultrashort laser pulses a superb tool to investigate the ultrafast steps of chemical processes, i.e., femtochemistry.

Because Femtochemistry addresses the nature of the chemical bond it is common to any scientist  chemist, molecular physicist, biophysicist, condensed matter physicist, etc.  that studies interatomic interactions and their ultrafast dynamics. The ultrafast triggers can be provided by pulses of any kind if radiation, from radiowaves to x rays. Probing of the ongoing dynamics is a wide field by itself, from high-resolution spectroscopies from microwaves to  x rays, over ion, electron, and photon imaging techniques to time-resolved microscopies with visible light, electron, or x-ray sources. Coherent and incoherent control schemes are being advised to control chemical dynamics and to manipulate reaction products at will. All this is approached in a combined experimental and theoretical effort to unravel molecular dynamics in chemistry, physics, biology, life, and material science.

The Femtochemistry conference is aiming to provide a platform for rich discussions on the ongoing experimental and theoretical work to disentangle and understand ultrafast molecular processes related to valence electron dynamics. This includes studies of these effects in

  • molecules and clusters
  • liquids and solutions
  • biological systems
  • interfaces and surfaces
  • nanosystems, polymers and condensed matter

FEMTO12 tries to bridge the gaps between traditional fields and to literally build bridges between technologies, scientific cases, and state-of-the art results.