From optical to THz control of materials Faraday Discussion

23 - 25 May 2022, London, United Kingdom



Join us in London in May 2022 for this addition to our Faraday Discussion series. For over 100 years and 300 meetings, Faraday Discussions have been the forefront of physical chemistry. Many of these Discussions have become landmark meetings in their field.
This meeting is for established scientists, post-graduate students and industrial researchers interested in ultrafast control of the physical properties of materials by light excitation and/or THz excitation. Given the rapid development of experimental techniques, including XFEL science, THz science and various pump–probe techniques, and developments in the theory of ultrafast, out-of-equilibrium and multiscale processes driven by light or THz excitation, this meeting will provide a roadmap of where the field is and what the challenges are over the next 5–10 years and beyond.

The unique format of the Faraday Discussions will allow for in-depth discussions, which will stimulate new thoughts and define new horizons, and opportunities to establish new collaborations. An important aspect in the discussions will be the complementarity of experimental material scientists and theoreticians for designing new ways to control materials or understanding transformation processes.
On behalf of our committee, we look forward to welcoming you to London.
Eric Collet


Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal.

Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in this video


Ultrafast science has been for long limited to the investigation of molecular processes. Over the past 10 years, investigation of ultrafast processes has expanded to material science, with specific aspects related to solid-state like excitation of electron in band structures, collective phonon excitation, or specific probes for electronic and structural reorganization such as X-ray diffraction or ARPES.
The Faraday Discussion will be organised into the following themes:

Material science: ultrafast transformation, electron-phonon coupling, multi-scale aspects
Ultrafast phenomena in materials, induced by ultrashort light excitation, are driven by the subtle coupling between electronic and structural degrees of freedom, which is at the origin of the emergence of functions. These functions can be triggered by direct or indirect excitation of various degrees of freedom, such as spin, electron, phonon, and lattice. These ultrafast phenomena concern various materials, from hard-condensed matter to molecular materials, and various properties such as conductivity, magnetism and ferroelectricity. However, the complex out-of-equilibrium dynamics induced by light in these diverse systems show common features at the origin of the emergence of functions, such as the coupling between different sub-systems that are multi-scale in space and time. This session will illustrate the diversity of ultrafast processes in material science, while looking for universality in their description, understanding and control.
Theory of out of equilibrium light-induced phenomena
Molecular transformations, at the heart of chemistry and emergence of functions, involve subtle and coupled changes of electronic and nuclear configurations. This is also true for photoinduced phase transition in materials. When induced by light, these electronic and structural reorganizations can be extremely fast and coupled. Providing a relevant picture of the transformation process is necessary for developing light-activated functions. This session will discuss the challenges faced by both theoreticians and experimentalists in understanding electron-phonon coupling, conical intersection, which may occur beyond the Born–Oppenheimer approximation. This breakdown of the Born–Oppenheimer approximation is the basis of significant research interest in both fundamental and applied fields related to non-adiabatic phenomena. 
Optical excitation processes
Under light pulse excitation, remarkable molecular processes can emerge, and in the solid state, ultrafast photoinduced phase transitions (PIPT) represent a fascinating route beyond femtochemistry. The PIPT field has developed around two main lines; delocalized photoexcitation in itinerant electron materials, and localized molecular excitation. Enormous progress has been achieved in the description of ultrafast processes, with the intensive development of ultrafast optical, electron or X-ray experiments, opening completely new possibilities for the real time probing of these processes. This session will be devoted to the development of PIPT concepts, which are now vividly exploited in condensed matter, for driving phase transitions on the timescale of a phonon period.
THz and laser field excitation processes
New laser-based technologies promise control of elementary electronic and structural processes in transforming matter on the femtosecond timescale (1 fs = 10-15 s). In this session, we will discuss taking steps towards an unprecedented degree of control over material functionality. We will also discuss how nonlinear phononics represents a new method for triggering structural dynamics, and how new excitation processes are able to transform materials in the ground state, thus promising capabilities overpassing optical excitation, through more selective and directive processes.


The Royal Society of Chemistry is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, or have childcare, caring responsibilities or other care needs, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance. Please refer also to our Grants for carers fund, for more information please see the ‘bursaries’ section on this page.
Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 6 September 2021 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 3 January 2022.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume. 

Poster Abstracts 

Submit your poster abstract by 14 March 2022. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation. 

Travel Grants for PhD Students and Early Career Scientists

We have two types of grants available to attend this meeting:
  • A limited number of non-competitive grants of up to £200 are available for PhD students and early career scientists. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
  • Competitive grants of up to £800 are available to assist with international travel expenses for PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians and industrialists) within 10 years of leaving full time education. In addition, applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
To take advantage of these grants and many other benefits, become a member. Follow the link on the right hand side to find out more and join today!
Applications for either grant should be submitted as early as possible, but at least 8 weeks in advance of the start of the meeting. Please see respective terms & conditions for full eligibility information.

Grants for Carers

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities. These grants have been supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.

You can apply for up to a maximum of £1000/year to assist with additional financial costs that you incur for care usually provided by you whilst you attend a chemistry related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event.
Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if:
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current)
The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

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