Fiches de cours 2017-2018


Ultrafast phenomena


Lecturer(s) :

Chergui Majed




Every year


Every year / Fall


The course will cover fundamental concepts and recent developments in the field of time-resolved spectroscopy and introduce the basic theory to understand ultrafast (10-16 - 10-9 s) phenomena in condensed matter- and biological systems.


For the study of electronic and structural dynamics in solids and (bio-) molecules in 'real' time, a variety of time-resolved spectroscopic techniques (in the optical, THz, and X-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum) are available.'The fastest dynamics that are accessible with state-of-the-art experiments are the motion of electrons (10-16 s), vibrational motion of molecules (10-14 s), and electronic relaxation pathways (10-12 s). Examples include the breaking of interatomic bonds, vibrational dynamics in molecular systems, and tracking of radiative and non-radiative electron relaxation pathways in biological systems.'The course will try to address technological and theoretical aspects, and in the last part a few examples from literature will be studied:


1. Principles of femtosecond laser system

       a.  Overview of laser oscillators and pulse amplification

       b.  Parametric generation and amplification

       c.  Pulse measurement/characterization.


 2. Time-resolved spectroscopy methods

       a.  Transient absorption (pump-probe) spectroscopy and fluorescence  up-conversion

       b.  Multidimensional spectroscopy (Photon echo)

       c.  Attosecond spectroscopy using high harmonic radiation

       d.  Time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy using synchrotron and XFEL radiation


3.  Theory (no, or minimal, pre-existing knowledge is required)

       a.  Non-linear optics

       b.  Density matrix formalism

       c.  Liouville-space pathways

       d.  Correlation functions


4. Examples: Photon-Echo spectroscopy, Biological electron an energy transfer, Salvation dynamics'       

            Students are encouraged to bring up subjects/papers for discussion.





Suggested reading:


Ultrafast spectroscopy, Multidimensional spectroscopy, Optical Bloch Equations, High Harmonics Generation, Attosecond Spectroscopy, Femtosecond Lasers, Nonlinear optics.

In the programs

Reference week

      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German