14 Novembre – Thesis defense - Antoine Comby

14 h30 Amphi LaBRI (Talence campus)

Ultrafast dynamics of chiral molecules in gazeous phase.

Chirality is a geometric property that characterizes objects that cannot be superposed on their mirror image.  Our hands are an emblematic example of this, since they exist in two different forms, right and left. While chirality is observed at all scales in the universe, it plays a particularly important role in chemistry. A chiral molecule and its mirror image can react differently with their environment and be therapeutic or toxic. These effects obviously have immense repercussions on the animal and plant kingdom. It then becomes clear that it is essential to study precisely the dynamics of chiral chemical reactions.
In this thesis, we studied the ultrafast dynamics of chiral molecules by laser sources of femtosecond duration ($10^{-15}$ s). Molecular chirality is generally difficult to detect, so we have used a recent technique, circular photoelectron dichroism (PECD), to generate a very important chiral signal. We have thus observed ultrafast molecular dynamics at the attosecond scale ($10^{-18}$ s), and highlighted relaxation and ionization dynamics never observed before.
In parallel to these time-resolved studies, we have developed several experiments using a new high repetition rate, high mean power Yb fiber laser. We have developed a new method, by extending the PECD, that has allowed us to measure the composition of chiral samples quickly and accurately. Finally, we have developed an ultra-short XUV beamline with very high brightness ($sim 2$ mW). This source, coupled with a photoelectron and photoion coincidence detector, will be used to study chiral recognition mechanisms.

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