A multi target approach to control chemical reactions in their inhomogeneous solvent environment

Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, 201548 (23), 234003

Journal of Physics B

Shaped laser pulses offer a powerful tool to manipulate molecular quantum systems. Their application to chemical reactions in solution is a promising concept to redesign chemical synthesis. Along this road, theoretical developments to include the solvent surrounding are necessary. An appropriate theoretical treatment is helpful to understand the underlying mechanisms. In our approach we simulate the solvent by randomly selected snapshots from molecular dynamics trajectories. We use multi target optimal control theory to optimize pulses for the various arrangements of explicit solvent molecules simultaneously. This constitutes a major challenge for the control algorithm, as the solvent configurations introduce a large inhomogeneity to the potential surfaces. We investigate how the algorithm handles the new challenges and how well the controllability of the system is preserved with increasing complexity. Additionally, we introduce a way to statistically estimate the efficiency of the optimized laser pulses in the complete thermodynamical ensemble.

TU München