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The LCAR (Laboratoire Collisions-Agrégats-Réactivité) is a laboratory centered in fundamental physics organized around two main fields

  1. The study of laser-matter interaction focuses on matter waves studies and strong-field physics
  2. The study of molecular structures and dynamics develops the study and measurement of the properties of clusters, molecules of biological and astrophysical interest.

The LCAR is member of FeRMI (Fédération de recherche Matière et Interactions).


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We study optical field emission from silver nanotips, showing the combined influence of the illumination wavelength and the exact shape of the nanotip on the strong-field response. This is particularly relevant in the case of FIB milled nano tips, where the nanotip fabrication capabilities could become a new ingredient for the study of strong-field physics. The influence of the thermal load on the nanotip and its effect on the emission is studied as well by switching the repetition rate of the laser source from 1 kHz to 62 MHz, showing a clear transition towards the quenching of the strongfield emission.

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Optimal control theory is implemented with fully converged hierarchical equations of motion (HEOM) describing the time evolution of an open system density matrix strongly coupled to the bath in a spin-boson model. The populations of the two-level sub-system are taken as control objectives; namely, their revivals or exchange when switching off the field. We, in parallel, analyze how the optimal electric field consequently modifies the information back flow from the environment through different non-Markovian witnesses. Although the control field has a dipole interaction with the central sub-system only, its indirect influence on the bath collective mode dynamics is probed through HEOM auxiliary matrices, revealing a strong correlation between control and dissipation during a non-Markovian process. A heterojunction is taken as an illustrative example for modeling in a realistic way the two-level sub-system parameters and its spectral density function leading to a non-perturbative strong coupling regime with the bath. Although, due to strong system-bath couplings, control performances remain rather modest, the most important result is a noticeable increase of the non-Markovian bath response induced by the optimally driven processes.

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Interstellar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are strongly affected by the absorption of vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photons in the interstellar medium (ISM), yet the branching ratio between ionization and fragmentation is poorly studied. This is crucial for the stability and charge state of PAHs in the ISM in different environments, affecting in turn the chemistry, the energy balance, and the contribution of PAHs to the extinction and emission curves. We studied the interaction of PAH cations with VUV photons in the 7-20 eV range from the synchrotron SOLEIL beamline, DESIRS. We recorded by action spectroscopy the relative intensities of photo-fragmentation and photo-ionization for a set of eight PAH cations ranging in size from 14 to 24 carbon atoms, with different structures. At photon energies below similar to 13.6 eV fragmentation dominates for the smaller species, while for larger species ionization is immediately competitive after the second ionization potential (IP). At higher photon energies all species behave similarly; the ionization yield gradually increases, leveling off between 0.8 and 0.9 at similar to 18 eV. Among isomers, PAH structure appears to mainly affect the fragmentation cross section but not the ionization cross section. We also measured the second IP for all species and the third IP for two of them; all are in good agreement with theoretical ones, confirming that PAH cations can be further ionized in the diffuse ISM. Determining actual PAH dication abundances in the ISM will require detailed modeling. Our measured photo-ionization yields for several PAH cations provide a necessary ingredient for such models.

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