Bartels Group
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to the Bartels Group home page, in the ECE Department at Colorado State University.

The research that we do in our group is highly multidisciplinary, drawing on optics, chemistry, biological, and engineering principles. Our group is working to unravel fundamental questions concerning the interaction of femtosecond light pulses with molecules to induce coherent motion in specific degrees of freedom of the molecules. We are seeking to understand the ro-vibrational dynamics of molecules excited by femtosecond laser pulses. Particularly, we wish to understand the limits of control over a specific degree of freedom (e.g., one particular normal vibrational mode in a molecule) when the excitation laser pulse drives the creation of molecular wave packets involving many overtone levels. We are also exploring the coupling of an excited mode to other degrees of freedom in the molecule. This coupling should be strongly enhanced in the limit of strong overtone excitation and for large molecules such as proteins. The temporal dynamics of the molecular ro-vibrational wave packets that are produced in my laboratory create fs time-scale transients in the linear and nonlinear optical susceptibility, resulting in new fundamental dynamical effects for the propagation of femtosecond laser pulses. The research in my laboratory will provide a better understanding of the interaction of shaped femtosecond laser pulses with molecules, the dynamics of their response, and the impact of those dynamics on the propagation of electromagnetic pulses in the molecules. Ultimately, the new knowledge of molecular control will be applied to study and manipulate proteins with light directly in a cellular environment. This new degree of freedom may lead to tools that help uncover the function of many biological molecules in their natural environment.

June 2009