Physics Colloquium

10/10/2019 3:30 pm
110 Physical Sciences


Martin Centurion
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Nebraska

Ultrafast Diffractive Imaging of Molecules: Capturing molecular reactions with atomic resolution using electron pulses.

Abstract:Many processes in nature are driven by the conversion of light into chemical and mechanical energy at the level of single molecules. After absorbing a photon, chemical bonds can be broken and new bonds made, the structure of the molecule changes, and the extra energy appears in the form of vibrations (heat). These processes often take place on femtosecond timescales, and are thus hard to observe. In this talk, I will describe recent advances in our ability to capture these changes as they happen, on the relevant timescales and with atomic spatial resolution using ultrafast electron diffraction.  We will focus on a few exemplary reactions were we have imaged the motion of nuclear wavepackets during bond breaking and structural changes, and coherent vibrations that persist in the ground state of the reaction products.

Bio: Martin Centurion is the Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He received his BS in Physics with highest distinction from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor in the year 2000, and his PhD from Caltech in 2005 in the group of Prof. Demetri Psaltis. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Center for the Physics of Information at Caltech for a year, and then from 2006-2009 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany. In 2009, he joined the University of Nebraska – Lincoln as an Assistant Professor.