Ultrafast charge dynamics in an amino acid induced by attosecond pulses

Francesca Calegari*, David Ayuso, Andrea Trabattoni, Louise Belshaw, Simone De Camillis, Fabio Frassetto, Luca Poletto, Alicia Palacios, Piero Decleva, Jason B. Greenwood, Fernando Martín, Mauro Nisoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In the past few years, attosecond techniques have been implemented for the investigation of ultrafast dynamics in molecules. The generation of isolated attosecond pulses characterized by a relatively high photon flux has opened up new possibilities in the study of molecular dynamics. In this paper, we report on experimental and theoretical results of ultrafast charge dynamics in a biochemically relevant molecule, namely, the amino acid phenylalanine. The data represent the first experimental demonstration of the generation and observation of a charge migration process in a complexmolecule, where electron dynamics precede nuclear motion. The application of attosecond technology to the investigation of electron dynamics in biologically relevant molecules represents a multidisciplinary work, which can open new research frontiers: those in which few-femtosecond and even subfemtosecond electron processes determine the fate of biomolecules. It can also open new perspectives for the development of new technologies, for example, in molecular electronics, where electron processes on an ultrafast temporal scale are essential to trigger and control the electron current on the scale of the molecule.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8700512
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Attosecond
  • Extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) spectroscopy
  • Femtosecond
  • High harmonics
  • Molecular physics
  • Ultrafast optics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrafast charge dynamics in an amino acid induced by attosecond pulses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this