As part of the “CEISAM Conference” cycle, the young theoretical chemist Basile CURCHOD from the University of Bristol (UK) and PI of the in silico photochemistry group, will give a conference on Wednesday April 27, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. in room 111 of building 26.
Driving new developments in excited-state molecular dynamics through challenging photochemical applications
What happens to a molecule once it has absorbed UV or visible light? How does the molecule release or convert the extra energy it just received? Answering these questions clearly goes beyond a pure theoretical curiosity, as photochemical and photophysical processes are central to numerous domains like energy conversion and storage, radiation damage in DNA, or atmospheric chemistry. A plethora of theoretical tools has been developed over the past decades to address these questions by simulating the excited-state dynamics of molecules. These methods are often tested and theoretically validated on reduced-dimensionality models or rather simple molecules.
In this talk, I will show a series of examples where studying the photophysics and photochemistry of real-life molecules helped spotlight the limitations of current theoretical methodologies and stimulate the development of new strategies for excited-state dynamics. In particular, I will focus on the sunlight-induced reactivity of volatile organic compounds in the troposphere and athermal ground-state processes following the passage through a conical intersection.
Basile F. E. Curchod was born in Vevey (Switzerland) and has been profoundly intrigued by the interaction between light and molecules since his studies at EPFL (Switzerland). During his PhD, he worked on developing theoretical tools to better understand photochemical reactions, that is, chemical reactions triggered by light. He carried on his research on this topic during two postdoctoral stays, one at Stanford University (USA) and the other at the Max Planck Institute in Halle (Germany). He then moved to Bristol (UK) as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow to work alongside experimentalists, applying his theoretical methods to understand the mechanistic details of some photochemical processes. In November 2017, he created the In Silico Photochemistry Group (www.in-silico-photochem.com) at Durham University (UK). In September 2018, he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant. He was promoted to Associate Professor in August 2021. In March 2022, Basile moved to the Centre for Computational Chemistry at the University of Bristol as an Associate Professor in Theoretical Chemistry.