The Early Era of Laser-Selective Chemistry 1960∼1985: Roots of Modern Quantum Control

Francois O. Laforge, Juneseo Lee, Herschel A. Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Physicists revolutionized the scientific world when they invented the laser in 1960. During the next two decades, fruitful interplay occurred between theoreticians and experimentalists seeking progress in laser-selective chemistry. In the Early Era, defined as 1960∼1985, scientists gradually realized the immense complexity of the problem of performing tailored manipulations at the molecular scale. However, their efforts opened the doors to a new, broader scientific field of research called quantum control which developed in the Modern Era, defined as 1985 to the present time. This Perspective aims to show that the roots of quantum control may be linked to endeavors to manipulate chemical reactions with lasers and thus reaches as far back as the invention of the laser in 1960. We will emphasize the role of advancing technology, the prescience in the questions raised by researchers, and the role of interdisciplinary research. The Perspective concludes with an assessment of what was achieved in the Early Era.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5283-5296
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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