Theoretical perspectives on ultrafast and non-linear spectroscopy

Abstract: In this thesis we discuss a theoretical description of ultrafast and non-linear spectroscopy. Due to the high intensities and ultrashort pulse durations involved in such experiments, it is necessary to use an explicitly time-dependent formalism. In addition, many of the systems we have considered exhibit strong interactions between the constituent particles, such as electron-electron, electron-nuclear and electron-photon interactions. To properly account for such interactions we have made extensive use of effective models, designed to capture the qualitative aspects of the systems.The thesis is based on six papers, that can be broadly categorized as follows: In Papers III and VI we study the non-linear interaction of light and matter. In Paper III we look at the multi-photon photo-emission from InAs nanowires, and in particular at the polarization dependence of the photo-emission signal on the crystal structure. In Paper VI we discuss second harmonic generation in a two-level system, and compare the fluorescence spectra from a quantum and semi-classical treatment of radiation.The remaining four papers are concerned with ultrafast dynamical processes: In Papers I and II we study atomic desorption from a surface, resulting from strong electron-nuclear interactions. To account for these interactions we consider a finite system that can be solved using exact diagonalization. We show that the desorption yield can be controlled by using a protocol with two ultrashort pulses and varying their delay. To assess finite size effects we compare the exact solution of the finite system to an approximate solution of a semi-infinite system based on non-equilibrium Green's functions and Ehrenfest dynamics. In Paper V we study Auger decay in a real-time description, and propose a protocol to induce the quantum Zeno effect by driving the system during decay. The Zeno effect leads to an increase in the Auger lifetime, that is experimentally measurable and can be controlled by varying the intensity of the driving field. In Paper IV we discuss the role of electron-electron interactions for charge-separation in donor-acceptor systems. We identify a regime where the charge-separation is driven solely by electronic correlations, that are captured by treating interactions to first order beyond a mean-field description.