Why do electrons behave the way they do? Atomic physicist Per Johnsson has received a grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, through their Future Research Leaders programme, to help him find the answer.
When a molecule undergoes a chemical reaction, it is the movement of the electrons that keeps the atoms in the molecule together and decides what the result of the reaction is. As electrons move very fast, on an attosecond time scale (a billionth of a billionth of a second), it is necessary to use imaging techniques with extremely short exposure times to capture this movement.
Per Johnsson’s research aims to study such electron movements and their impact on molecular dynamics, using ultrafast laser pulses at the Lund High-Power Laser Facility.