Joshua Jortner

Tel Aviv University

Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type:
International Member (elected 1997)

Research Interests

As a chemist, I have studied dynamic relaxation processes in chemistry, investigating the mechanisms of energy acquisition, storage, and disposal in large molecules, clusters, condensed phase, and biophysical systems. Intramolecular radiationless transitions provided routes for electronic and vibrational energy flow in molecular systems, establishing energy gap laws, vibrational mode selectivity, new areas of intramolecular chemistry, coherent vibrational wave packet dynamics, and the dynamics of ultrahigh molecular Rydberg states, thereby laying foundations for photoselective chemistry and laser chemistry. Regarding clusters, I study energetic, quantum, electronic, spectroscopic, electrodynamic, and dynamic cluster size effects, merging from microscopic to macroscopic behavior of matter. In the realm of the dynamics of complex systems, we established unifying features of intramolecular and condensed phase dynamics, e.g., vibrational relaxation, spin-conversion, atom transfer, and electron transfer. The unification of the theory of electron transfer in the condensed phase and in the protein medium pertains to mechanistic features and the symmetry breaking effects in the primary charge separation in photosynthesis. These studies explore the energetic stability and efficiency of primary photobiological processes and address structure-dynamics-function relations for ultrafast biophysical and chemical dynamics. The theory and simulations of dynamic relaxation provide the conceptual framework for ultrafast femtosecond chemistry and biology on the time scale of nuclear motion.

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