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Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit -- Phase I

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The Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit (CaSTL)  (University of California-Irvine)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit (CaSTL) is a Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI), which is funded through the National Science Foundation. The center is dedicated to real-time measurements with atomistic resolution to probe the inner workings of molecules. Videography of elementary events in chemistry and photophysics is the aim. Among the targeted processes are: the oxidation and reduction of a single molecule, making and breaking of chemical bonds, charge transfer/transport, heterogeneous catalysis and chemistry on the nanoscale. The capability to follow individual chemical events with atomistic resolution would usher a new perspective and mode of inquiry into molecular science and engineering. Indeed, for the purposes of instructing chemistry, it is hard to imagine a more incisive tool than the time-lapsed images of molecules undergoing chemical change, or responding to various external perturbations.

Our collaborative efforts focus on the creation of novel and far-reaching measurement and computational technologies that are currently being developed. The combined physical measurements and quantum mechanical simulations will be used to provide a real-space, real-time picture of chemical processes at the most fundamental level. In effect, time-lapsed sequences of chemical events will be imaged one bond-at-a-time. Such a development would fundamentally change the modes of scientific inquiry of not only scientists, but also the public at large.  Our immediate research goals are to develop the measurement and theoretical apparatus to access the inner workings of complex molecules – individual bonds, interactions among delocalized vibrations, electronically excited states and charge distributions. 

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  • Image of a molecule.
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