Alumna Returns to Campus to Present Research Seminar

Event Details

Date: June 22, 2011

Times: 1:30 p.m.

Location: Gilbert Science Center, Rm 241, at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Ticket Info: Free and open to the public

Kelsie Betsch, class of 2005, returns to campus on Thursday, June 23, to speak about her award-winning Ph.D. research. The seminar begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Gilbert Science Center room 241. Betsch, who recently graduated from the University of Virginia, has studied the control of molecular dynamics using ultrafast laser pulses.

Image showing ionization preferentially occurs in the direction of the laser field.In her experiments she was able to control ionization of diatomic molecules such as N2, O2, and CO in such a way that the more highly charged fragments are preferentially ejected on one side of the molecule or the other. This level of control is achieved by mixing laser fields of more than one color and stabilizing the relative phases of the two pulses. As shown in the right figure, ionization preferentially occurs in the direction of the laser field.

In order to achieve this level of control, Betsch constructed what is known as a carrier-envelope phase stabilized laser, available at only a very few facilities in the world. For this work, which was published in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters, Betsch was awarded the University of Virginia prize for Excellence in Scholarship in the Sciences and Engineering. Betsch will soon be traveling to Germany to assume her new position at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching.

Originally from New Ulm, MN, Betsch was a physics and chemistry double major at Augustana, receiving a Goldwater Scholarship in 2004. She conducted research in both the chemistry and physics departments at Augustana, and her undergraduate results were published in Tetrahedron Letters and Physical Review.

Gilbert Science Center is located at the corner of 33rd Street and Summit Avenue in Sioux Falls.


Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations