It was with great excitement that we held our first in-person network talk post-pandemic! We had two wonderful speakers Prof. Nora Berrah (University of Connecticut) and Dr Rebecca Ingle (UCL). Both talked about their recent work ultrafast work at FELs. Additionally, we are very pleased to announce the news that the UK-XFEL project has received £3.2 million funding from the UKRI Infrastructure Fund. This funding is to support the next phase of the project and to commission the conceptual design study. This conceptual design study will explore different options to provide access to a second generation XFEL capability for UK science and innovation. XFELs are large facilities that produce coherent X-rays and can be used to study matter simultaneously on spatial and temporal scales. Prof Jon Marangos gave an update on the continuation of the UK XFEL project into the second phase.

The announcement was recently made and described here.

The UK XFEL Science Case project is led by Professor Jon Marangos (ICL Physics) and network members are part of the science team.

Prof Jon Marangos will be giving an update on the continuation of the UK XFEL project into the second phase.


Nora Berrah 14:00-14:50-

Probing Molecular Dynamics in Real Time

The knowledge of the earliest time dynamics in molecular photo-physics and photochemistry are critical because their role is to harness the energy from photons, initiating electronic and nuclear motion, which is fundamental in many areas of science. Our ultimate goal is to understand the coupled electronic and nuclear dynamics induced by the absorption of photons by molecules, which leads first to attosecond electron excitation within the molecules, followed by nuclear motion in the femtosecond range. This eventually results in the breaking and making of chemical bonds on the picosecond timescale. The past decade has seen the exciting birth of the first X-ray laser, the LCLS free electron laser (FEL) followed by other FELs around the world, leading to an explosion of new science, in the femtosecond and very recently in the attosecond timescale regime. Recent time-resolved experimental results will be presented using pump-probe technique with FELs to watch, in real time, the response of large molecules to intense X-rays as well as to examine the role of physical and chemical effects and how they lead to bonds breaking. Table-top laser experiments on H[1]migration in molecules will be presented if time permits.

Rebecca Ingle 14:50-15:40-

               Perspectives on Photo-physics Across the Electromagnetic Spectrum

A complete understanding of light-induced processes in molecular systems involves tracking the intricately coupled electronic and nuclear dynamics following the photoexcitation process. The breakdown of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation is commonplace for photochemical reactions and so we need experimental techniques capable of recovering information on the evolution of the electronic and nuclear structure and the coupling between these. In this talk, I will look at how a series of ultrafast optical and X-ray techniques, including two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy (2D-ES) and time-resolved X-ray absorption (TR-XAS) can provide mechanistic insight into the photoinduced dynamics of a series of molecular systems, including bimetallic platinum complexes, molecular cavities and isolated gas-phase systems.

Jon Marangos 15:40-16:00-

UK XFEL – Conceptual Design and Options Analysis

An update on the continuation of the UK XFEL project into the second phase.