Margaret Murnane Portrait
Distinguished Professor • Fellow - JILA

Office: JILA A704

Research Interests:

Ultrafast laser and x-ray science, ultrafast femtosecond-to-attosecond dynamics in molecular and materials systems, development of tabletop coherent x-ray sources and their application in science and technology.

Nonlinear optics has revolutionized laser science by making it possible to efficiently convert laser light from one wavelength into another. My research exploits the extreme nonlinear optical process of high-harmonic generation, whereby light from an ultrafast laser can be coherently upshifted, resulting in a tabletop laserlike (coherent) light source in the soft x-ray region. The x-ray bursts generated during high-harmonic generation represent the fastest strobe light in existence, fast enough to capture electron dynamics in atoms, molecules, and materials. Exciting applications of attosecond science and technology include capturing and controlling the coupled motions of electrons and atoms in molecules, high-resolution imaging, nanoscale heat transport, and ultrafast element-specific dynamics in magnetic materials.

Selected Publications:

For a list of Professor Murnane’s latest publications visit