Strong field laser control of photochemistry
Strong ultrashort laser pulses have opened new avenues for the manipulation of photochemical processes like photoisomerization or photodissociation. The presence of light intense enough to reshape the potential energy surfaces may steer the dynamics of both electrons and nuclei in new directions. A controlled laser pulse, precisely defined in terms of spectrum, time and intensity, is the essential tool in this type of approach to control chemical dynamics at a microscopic level. In this Perspective we examine the current strategies developed to achieve control of chemical processes with strong laser fields, as well as recent experimental advances that demonstrate that properties like the molecular absorption spectrum, the state lifetimes, the quantum yields and the velocity distributions in photodissociation processes can be controlled by the introduction of carefully designed strong laser fields.