With more light, chemistry speeds up

Light initiates many chemical reactions. Experiments at the Laser Centre of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Warsaw's Faculty of Physics have for the first time demonstrated that increasing the intensity of illumination some reactions can be significantly faster. Here, acceleration was achieved using pairs of ultrashort laser pulses.

Light-induced reactions can be accelerated by increasing the intensity of illumination -- this has been demonstrated in experiments carried out at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw. In order to thoroughly investigate the nature of the processes involved, ultra-short consecutive pairs of laser pulses were used, and an increase in the rate of reaction between the molecules was observed by up to several dozen percent. The observations of the Warsaw scientists have been reported in the well-known scientific journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

"Our experiments provide fundamental knowledge about the physical processes that are important for the course of important light-induced reactions. This knowledge can potentially be used in many applications, especially when dealing with high intensity light sources. These include, among others, various microscopic imaging techniques, ultra-fast spectroscopy as well as photovoltaics, particularly if light-focusing devices such as solar collectors are used," says Dr. Gonzalo Angulo (IPC PAS).

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