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Attosecond electron dynamics: from atoms to biomolecules


The temporal resolution provided by XUV attosecond pulses (1 as= 10-18 s) allows one to follow the electron dynamics in matter. The research activity at the basis of the thesis work is focused on the investigation of the ultrafast electron dynamics occurring in biomolecules and nanoparticles.
Attosecond physics in atoms

Attosecond pulses recently proven to be the ideal tool for studying the ultrafast processes linked to light-matter interaction. A series of pioneering experiment brought to the birth of attosecond metrology: a branch of Attosecond Science which studies the early steps of photoemission in atoms, molecules and solids. Despite its conceptual simplicity, the photoemission process in atoms is far from being completely understood. The small photoemission delays (from tens to hundreds of attoseconds) encode information on the local atomic potential, electron correlation and the initial localization of the electron wavefunction. In this thesis work the student will investigate novel attosecond spectroscopic techniques resolved in time, energy and angle, in order to access unexplored regions of strong-field physics in noble gas atoms.
Attosecond physics in biomolecules
Charge migration process, which is currently a hot topic in attosecond science, will be studied. Indeed, this process plays a crucial role in fundamental biological mechanisms such as the transmission of biological signals in proteins and DNA. Aminoacids and small peptides are currently under investigation by using state of the art experimental techniques based on the use of high-energy attosecond pulses.
This thesis work will be performed in the ERC-granted ELYCHE laboratory: