ELYCHE project

The research activity of ELYCHE (ELectron-scale dYnamics in CHEmistry) takes advantage of the expertise in attosecond science acquired in the last decade by the attosecond group at the Physics Department of Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy. 

The target of the project is the experimental demonstration of attosecond coherent control of electronic motion in matter, with particular emphasis on molecules with biological interest. The success of the project is based on the possibility to initiate and control the sub-femtosecond electron dynamics by using high-intensity isolated attosecond pulses. Such electron motion precedes and determines the subsequent nuclear rearrangement, which ultimately leads to the chemical change. 

The project is highly interdisciplinary, since it combines challenging achievements in various fields: laser technology, extreme nonlinear optics, XUV optics, atomic and molecular physics, molecular modeling, inorganic and organic chemistry, biophysics.

ELYCHE project is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement n. 227355.

New project: STARLIGHT

We are currently looking for motivated researchers for the development of a new laboratory. This laboratory will be devoted to the investigation of UV-induced electron dynamics in biomolecules. STARLIGHT (STeering Attosecond electRon dynamics in biomolecules with UV-XUV LIGHT pulses) is a project funded by the European Research Council under the Horizon 2020 Framework ERG StG grant agreement n. 637756.

Paper on Science!

            Image: Nicoletta Calegari

We have observed the pure electron dynamics occurring in the aminoacid phenylalanine after sudden ionization by XUV attosecond pulses. This ultrafast dynamics occurs on a sub-4.5 femtoseconds temporal scale, which is shorter than the vibrational response of the molecule.

This research was done in collaboration with Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Center for Plasma Physics QUB and Università di Trieste.