Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Sciences

This program supports basic experimental and theoretical research aimed at understanding the structural and dynamical properties of atomic and molecular systems. The research emphasizes fundamental interactions of these systems with photons and electrons to characterize and control their behavior. The goal is to develop accurate quantum mechanical descriptions of dynamical processes such as chemical bond breaking and forming, interactions in strong fields, and electron correlation. Topics of interest include the development and application of novel, ultrafast optical probes of matter; the interactions of atoms and molecules with intense electromagnetic fields; and quantum control of atomic and molecular systems. 

The knowledge and techniques produced by this research area form a science base that underpins several aspects of the DOE mission. New methods for using photons, electrons, and ions to probe matter lead to more effective use of BES synchrotron, nanoscience, and microcharacterization facilities. Similarly, the study of formation and evolution of energized states in atoms, molecules, and nanostructures provides a fundamental basis for understanding elementary processes in solar energy conversion and radiation-induced chemistry.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact Dr. Thomas Settersten.