Inducing Multiple Reactions with a Single Photon
Date: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 13:54:23 EDT
Topic: Science

Via Viewpoint: Inducing Multiple Reactions with a Single Photon

Figure 1: The potential energy surfaces of a simple energy-storage molecule are depicted in the bare case (top) and inside a cavity (bottom). In both situations, the molecule is excited by a photon from a long-lived metastable state into an excited state (left side). In the bare case, the molecule relaxes either to the ground state—releasing its stored energy with the emission of a photon (right side)—or back to the original metastable state. In the cavity, the probability of energy release is enhanced because of field-induced coupling to other molecules in the cavity. The resulting polaritonic “supermolecule” has a different excited-state surface, which allows a chain reaction of photon release in all of the molecules in the cavity.

by Michael Ruggenthaler, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter and Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, Hamburg, Germany/ September 27, 2017• Physics 10, 105

Using an optical cavity to couple several molecules can potentially set up a chemical chain reaction that requires just one photon to initiate.

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