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

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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October 03, 2018: Three JILA Fellows named 2018 APS Fellows

Three JILA Fellows have been named 2018 Fellows of the American Physical Society. The three new Fellows—Andreas Becker, Heather J. Lewandowski, and James K. Thompson—were nominated from varying divisions of APS. Andreas Becker was nominated by the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical physics for his contributions to the understanding of the behavior of atoms and molecules in intense light fields, including seminal theoretical studies of attosecond dynamics, photoionization, complex electron dynamics in simple systems such as H2, and a better understanding of high-harmonic generation.


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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