Colloquia & Guest Speakers

Light Field Control of Real and Virtual Charge Carriers

Professor Ignacio Franco, Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester

Monday, February 27, 2023
3:30 p.m.

In-person in Goergen 101 and Zoom

Zoom Information

Meeting ID: 952 7674 7247
Passcode: 964579


Ultrashort light pulses play a critical role in our quest to observe and exploit ever-faster physical phenomena. In particular, few-cycle lasers with frequencies in the visible range enable the visualization and control of chemical and physical processes occurring on femto to attosecond timescales. In this talk, I will discuss how the interaction of these intense and ultrafast light fields with matter can be used to guide electrons in matter and generate bursts of currents on ultrafast femtosecond timescales, an emerging direction of research called lightwave electronics. Specifically, I will discuss how in the context of nanojunctions it is possible to disentangle the ultrafast laser-induced currents into contributions by real and virtual carriers and use this augmented to control landscape to design petahertz electronic logical circuits elements that operate one million times faster than present-day capabilities.


Headshot of Professor Franco.
Professor Ignacio Franco

Ignacio Franco is an associate professor at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Rochester. Research in the Franco group focuses on theory and computation as it applies to dynamical processes occurring in molecules, nanoscale and extended systems. The group is particularly interested in exploring quantum frontiers in molecular science, and in developing new methods to probe and control the behavior of matter by means of external stimuli, a topic that they like to refer to as “Molecules Under Stress”. Ignacio received his B.Sc. in chemistry from the National University of Colombia in 2001. In 2002, after completing the diploma program in condensed matter physics at The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, he moved to the University of Toronto to pursue a PhD in theoretical chemical physics under the guidance of Paul Brumer. In 2008 he joined Northwestern as a postdoctoral fellow in the groups of Mark A. Ratner and George C. Schatz. In 2011, he moved to Berlin to take a position as group leader and Humboldt research fellow in the Theory Department of the Fritz Haber Institute. In 2013, he joined the chemistry faculty as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2019. Ignacio is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award of the American Chemical Society, the Curtis Provost Teaching Award for Nontenured Faculty, the College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring, and the Leonard Mandel Faculty Fellowship at the University of Rochester. Ignacio holds secondary appointments in the Department of Physics and the Materials Science Program.