Mark David Ellison
Wittenberg University
P. O. Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501
United States
mail to: mellison@wittenberg.edu

The goal of this document is to have the students explore a simple solution to the time-dependent Schrödinger equation. This is done in the context of understanding the work, commonly called femtochemistry, of recent Nobel Prize winner Ahmed Zewail. The students review the harmonic oscillator model for molecular vibration, which is a solution to the time-independent Schrödinger equation. The students then study the process of exciting molecules with an ultrafast laser pulse. The molecules thus excited are in a superposition that has time-dependent behavior. MathCad is an excellent tool to help students visualize and understand the fundamentals of femtochemistry. The Excitation.PDF file contains a diagram of the excitation process and a discussion question to focus student learning at the start of the activity using the Mathcad template.
Editor's Commentary
Audiences: Upper-Division Undergraduate
Pedagogies: Computer-Based Learning
Domains: Laboratory Instruction, Physical Chemistry
Topics: Computational Chemistry, Lasers, Photochemistry, Quantum Chemistry, Spectroscopy, Mathematics / Symbolic Mathematics
File NameDescriptionSoftware TypeSoftware Version
Femtochemistry2001i.mcd JCE Computational Document for Mathcad 2001i or higher Mathcad 2001i
Femtochemistry8.mcd JCE Mathcad 8 Computational Document Mathcad 8
FemtochemistryStudent2001i.mcd JCE Computational Document for Mathcad 2001i or higher, student version. Mathcad 2001i
FemtochemistryStudent8.mcd JCE Mathcad 8 Computational Document, student version. Mathcad 8
Excitation.PDF Excitation Figure and Discussion Question
Femtochemistry.pdf Read-Only Document
ShortPulse.avi JCE Supplementary Animation Animation
JCE JCE Subscribers only: name and password or institutional IP number access required.
Ellison, M. D. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 581.
Comments to: Mark Ellison
©Copyright 2004 Journal of Chemical Education