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Chirality: DFG prolongs funding for Collaborative Research Centre

Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1319 ELCH was established at the University of Kassel in early 2018 and will be funded by the DFG for another four-year period from early 2022 on. ELCH is dedicated to molecular chirality: the fact that left-handed and right-handed versions of a molecule share almost all physical properties but differ dramatically in their chemical and biological behaviour poses an intellectual challenge for the entire natural sciences. For example, molecular chirality is relevant to the building blocks of life and plays an important role in medicine and health.

The spokesperson of the SFB is Prof. Dr. Thomas Baumert, Head of the Department of Femtosecond Petroscopy and Ultrafast Laser Control: "Our SFB focuses on a different, yet fundamental aspect. With ELCH, we have established a research centre aimed at microscopic and quantum mechanical understanding of chiral molecules in the gas phase. To this end, the most advanced tools of experimental and theoretical atomic and molecular physics and quantum optics (AMO) are used to control and drive chirality at the level of isolated single molecules. Using light, we address the entire molecular system consisting of electrons and nuclei, creating a unique light-driven gas-phase laboratory for physics on chiral molecules. In the first funding period, several internationally highly regarded scientific results were achieved in ELCH in more than 40 collaborations, which are the basis for the now approved prolongation."

In addition to the scientific goals, the SFB pursues other important goals, Baumert says: "Our strategic goal is to strengthen AMO physics in Kassel and the participating locations, which is being done in Kassel through two new projects. Our educational goal is to offer young scientists the best possible research conditions."