European XFEL Science Seminar

Attosecond charge migration in bio-relevant molecules: controlling the photochemistry at the electron time scale

by Prof. Francesca Calegari (Attosecond Science Group, CFEL, DESY)

Zoom meeting

Zoom meeting


Attosecond science is nowadays a well-established research field, which offers formidable tools for the realtime investigation of electronic processes in matter. In this context, we have recently demonstrated that attosecond pulses can initiate charge migration in aromatic amino-acids. Still, there is a long path towards attochemistry and the full control of the molecule via electronic coherences.
Here, I will give a few examples on how attosecond/few-femtosecond technology can be used to observe purely electronic processes initiated in bio-chemically relevant molecules. Among them, I will present a time-resolved study of the photo-fragmentation of adenine (one of the DNA building blocks). I will show that, the production of intact doubly charged adenine – via a shortly-delayed laser-induced second ionisation event – represents the signature of a charge migration/inflation mechanism resulting from the many-body excitation. Our findings indicate that purely electronic effects can be used to explore new stabilisation pathways to prevent molecular dissociation.

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Organized by

Serguei Molodtsov / Gabriella Mulá-Mathews