Chemical Physics

Chemical physicists at JILA use advanced laser techniques to probe the structure and dynamics of matter during chemical reactions, i.e., during the making and breaking of chemical bonds.

JILA’s chemical physics research includes studies of molecular energy flow and optical/electrical properties of crystals, mapping of electron dynamics in materials and individual molecules, fabrication of nanomaterials, cooling of molecules through Stark deceleration and laser manipulation, and identifying short-lived molecules within interstellar and atmospheric combustion. These research endeavors advance our understanding of chemical reactions and inform the development of new materials.

Researchers in Chemical Physics

Photograph of Ralph Jimenez Ralph Jimenez
Focus: Biophysics, Ultrafast Lasers, Chemical Physics, Microfluidics Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Henry Kapteyn Henry Kapteyn
Focus: Ultrafast Lasers & X-Rays, Imaging, Chemical Physics, Quantum & Optical Science, Nanoscience, Materials, Molecular Science
Photograph of W. Carl Lineberger W. Carl Lineberger
Focus: Chemical Physics, Molecular Ions Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Heather Lewandowski Heather Lewandowski
Focus: Cold Molecules, Chemical Physics Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of David Nesbitt David Nesbitt
Focus: Chemical Physics, Biophysics, Molecular Ions Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Margaret Murnane Margaret Murnane
Focus: Ultrafast Lasers & X-Rays, Imaging, Chemical Physics, Quantum & Optical Science, Nanoscience, Materials, Molecular Science Role: Experimentalist
Placeholder Person Photo Robert P. Parson
Focus: Theoretical chemical dynamics Role: Theorist
Markus Raschke Markus Raschke
Focus: Ultrafast Nano-optics, Chemical Physics, Nanoscience Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of J. Mathias Weber J. Mathias Weber
Focus: Chemical Physics, Molecular and Cluster Ions, Materials Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Jun Ye Jun Ye
Focus: Cold Atoms and Molecules, Frequency Combs, Ultrastable Lasers, Precision Measurement Role: Experimentalist

Recent Highlights in Chemical Physics

  • JILA is the host of multiple centers within its campus. Some are National Science Foundation (NSF) funded and others funded by more private centers. Each center focuses on specific topics to advance the knowledge, education, and research on some of the biggest ideas within physics. 

  • When it comes to chemical reactions, shape matters. The Lewandowski Group have studied acetylene and its reactions with propyne and allene to find out how an isomer changes the chemical reaction pathway.

  • During upconversion photoluminescence in rubrene, four triplet state ions fight it out to release a single high-energy photon.