About the Becker Group

Our research interests are related to the theory of ultrafast processes in atoms, molecules and nanostructures induced, observed and controlled by ultrashort intense laser pulses. Electric field strengths of such laser pulses can exceed those of the Coulomb fields within an atom or molecule while the pulse durations are as short as a few femtoseconds (10-15 s) or even shorter in the attosecond regime (1 as = 10-18 s). Laser frequencies range from the far-infrared through the optical to the soft x-ray region.

Research Areas

  • The quest for studying ultrafast dynamics in matter has driven the development of laser pulses with ultrashort pulse durations. Currently, the shortest pulses have duration of a few tens of attoseconds (1 as = 10-18 s). We study the application of such pulses to image electron dynamics in atoms and molecules.

  • It is nowadays possible to generate laser pulses at wavelengths spanning the whole regime from deep-ultraviolet to midinfrared wavelengths. Moreover, control over pulse duration, carrier envelope phase and polarization has been achieved. We explore the application of this laser light for fundamental processes such as ionization, high harmonic generation etc.

  • While many effects in strong-field physics can be described using the single-active-electron approximation, energy transfer between electrons is mediated with electron correlation. We attempt to capture multielectron effects driven by short intense laser pulses.

  • The absorption of a single photon by matter is well understood. But, how does our understanding of the underlying quantum effects, such as selection rules, extend if an atom or molecule absorbs more than one photon from an intense laser field?

  • To study the highly nonlinear and nonperturbative interaction of intense laser light with matter we develop and apply several theoretical approaches, ranging from ab-initio numerical solutions to various approximation methods.

In the Spotlight

A compilation of researchers and the research/outreach led by JILA's PFC
September 12, 2023: JILA’s Physics Frontiers (PFC) is Awarded a $25 Million Grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF)

The JILA Physics Frontiers Center (PFC), an NSF-funded science center within JILA (a world-leading physics research institute), has recently been awarded a $25 million grant after a re-competition process. 

This science center brings together 20 researchers across JILA to collaborate to realize precise measurements and cutting-edge manipulations to harness increasingly complex quantum systems. Since its establishment in 2006, the JILA PFC’s dedication to advancing quantum research and educating the next generation of scientists has helped it to stand out as the heart of JILA’s excellence. 


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JILA Fellow and CU Boulder Distinguished Professor Andreas Becker
November 09, 2022: JILA Fellow Andreas Becker is awarded an Optica Fellowship

JILA Fellow and University of Colorado Boulder Distinguished Professor Andreas Becker has been awarded a 2023 fellowship to Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America). Becker's work at JILA focuses on the analysis and simulation of ultrafast phenomena in atoms, molecules, and clusters, in particular attosecond electron dynamics, coherent control, and molecular imaging. Using special laser frequencies, Becker and his team are able to study the dynamics of these atoms and molecules in different time scales. 

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Photo of Andreas Becker
November 05, 2021: JILA Fellow Andreas Becker is awarded CU Distinguished Faculty Title

JILA Fellow Andreas Becker is one of the 11 University of Colorado Boulder faculty to be awarded a 2021 Distinguished Professor title. CU Distinguished Professors are tenured faculty members who give outstanding work in research or creative work and have a reputation of excellence in promoting learning and student engagement in the research process as well as dedicated to the profession, the university, and its affiliates.

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Photo of Ran Brynn Reiff, Julia Cline, and Tyler McMaken
December 30, 2020: Tyler McMaken, Ran Brynn Reiff, and Julia Cline all win 2020 CU Physics awards

JILA graduate students Tyler McMaken, Ran Brynn Reiff, and Julia Cline all win the 2020 CU Physics Department TA awards 

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JILA Address

We are located at JILA: A joint institute of NIST and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Map | JILA Phone: 303-492-7789 | Address: 440 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309