Ultrafast Dynamics Research

We have an open position for a Postdoctoral Scholar. 

Applicants with a PhD in Physics, Chemistry, or a related field and an excellent track record are encouraged to apply. Please submit your CV and the contact information of at least two references to Prof. Martin Centurion (martin.centurion@unl.edu), with the words “Postdoc Application” in the subject line. 

Virtual Tour

Our lab took part in creating a 360 virtual tour of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. The Office of Graduate Studies funded the video in which prospective students can "visit" via their smartphone or computer. Skip ahead to minute 1:35 to see our lab.

Use the YouTube app on your phone or Firefox and Chrome browsers on your computer. Utilize the full 360 degree space by moving your phone or dragging your desktop cursor up-and-down and side-to-side.

Latest Research

Ultrafast Diffractive Imaging reveals coherent motion that persists after the molecule relaxes to the ground state

We have observed, experimentally and theoretically, the dynamics that result from bond-breaking in a complex molecule. We determined the structure of a short-lived intermediate state and followed the coherent motion of the atoms that continues after molecule relaxes to the electronic ground state.

Read the full publication describing the results
Simulated dynamics of the C2F4I2 molecule. The nuclear motions predicted by the simulation were observed experimentally using ultrafast electron diffraction.
Animation of a trifluoroiodomethane molecule (carbon shown in black, fluoride in cyan, iodine in magenta) responding to laser light. The light flash stretches the bond between the carbon and iodine atoms to a point, where the bond can either break (at right) or stay intact (at left). Since molecules are quantum systems, they actually exist in both states at once. Image by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Imaging CF3I conical intersection and photodissociation dynamics with ultrafast electron diffraction

Our results on imaging a nuclear wavepacket dynamics at conical intersections have been published in Science

More information is available on the news  and publications  pages.

Read the Nebraska today press release

Yang, Centurion and team featured in APS Physics and Office of Science Highlights

With an ultrafast “electron camera” at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, we have made the first direct snapshots of atomic nuclei in molecules. The news was featured on the front page of APS' Physics website and in several press releases.

APS Physics Viewpoint

Read the SLAC Press Release

Read the Nebraska Today Press Release
The electron diffraction pattern from iodine molecules depends on the distance between the two iodine nuclei, and changes as the molecule vibrates. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Illustration of molecule interactions at 100-femtosecond resolution. Image by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences Highlight

Our recent results on Femtosecond Electron Diffraction have been chosen as a Science Highlight "Capturing Molecular Motion with Relativistic Electrons" by the Department of Energy – Basic Energy Sciences.

Read the BES Highlight

Physicists use electrons to record more 'frames' of atomic motion

We have finally achieved femtosecond resolution in electron diffraction from molecules in the gas phase. The experiments were done at SLAC with a relativistic electron gun. The results were picked up by several news agencies. More information is available on the News page.

Read the Nebraska Today Press Release
From left: Matthew Robinson, Martin Centurion and Jie Yang. Craig Chandler, University Communications
Electron diffraction pattern.

Ultrafast imaging of isolated molecules with electron diffraction

The Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics published a Topical Review of "Ultrafast imaging of isolated molecules with electron diffraction" in February 2016.

Read the review on Digital Commons

SPIE Features "Sub-picosecond imaging of short-lived molecular structures"

In an article for the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), we discussed the ultrafast electron diffraction and femtosecond laser pulses behind our research and how it can lead to unprecedented areas of imaging resolutions.

SPIE Newsroom
Ultrafast electron diffraction image of CS2 molecule, similar to that of the molecule's ground state.