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Philip H. Bucksbaum

Philip H. Bucksbaum
Professor of Applied Physics, Physics, and Photon Science
Research Areas:
Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics
Description of Interests

I study the interaction of intense coherent radiation with atoms and molecules, with an emphasis on interactions induced by attosecond pulsed radiation and ultrashort x-ray lasers.

Attosecond Science

We can capture images of electrons as they move around inside atoms and molecules, by illuminating them with x-ray laser pulses that last less that one femtosecond (10-15 seconds).

Group members: PHB, James Cryan, Taran Driver, Jordan O’Neal, Anna Wang

Strong-Field AMO Physics

The data plot on the right shows the quantum interference patterns made by electrons when they are ripped out of an atom by laser fields with amplitudes of many volts per Angstrom.  These matter-holograms  contain strong hints of the electron structure and dynamics in a strong laser field.

Group members: PHB, Ruaridh Forbes, Adi Natan, Nick Werby, Andy Howard

Molecular Movies

The LCLS X-ray Laser at Stanford is the brightest research source of hard x-rays ever built, and the pulses are short enough to take sharp diffraction snapshots of the internal motion in excited molecules.  We have used these unique capabilities to create molecular movies.  The data on the right show a molecular movie of iodine as it dissociates. 

Group members and the NPI collaboration: PHB, Adi Natan, Aviad Schori, Mike Glownia (LCLS), Matt Ware (Ph.D. ’19), Ian Gabalski.


Prior to coming to Stanford, Bucksbaum was on the faculty at the University of Michigan, and a member of the research staff at Bell Laboratories. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his A.B. degree in Physics, magna cum laude from Harvard College.  He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He was president of the Optical Society in 2014 and is currently serving as president of the American Physical Society for 2020.

Selected Publications