Department of Chemistry
A headshot

Marlan Scully
Distinguished Professor

Primary Appointment

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4242

P: 979-862-2333
F: 979-458-1235

Researcher ID

Current Activities

Quantum Chemistry: We have developed [1] a new unconventional treatment of electronic structures which emulates an approach developed in quantum chromodynamics by generalizing the Schrödinger equation to D dimensions and rescaling coordinates. The results are closely related to the molecular model of Bohr and surprisingly accurate. Nature Physics' "Research Highlights" [2] calls this:

An intriguing approach to understanding the chemical bonds within molecules which demonstrates that Bohr's planetary model is indeed able to quantitatively describe molecules and gives a clear physical picture of how a chemical bond forms.

Quantum Optics: We use quantum coherence [3] and femtosecond lasers to advance atomic and molecular spectroscopy. For example, we have optimized the laser pulse configuration for coherent Raman spectroscopy (coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy, a.k.a. CARS) in order to detect bacterial endospores such as anthrax [4]. Science "News" [5] reports that:

The impressive work of Pestov et al. illustrates the continued rapid development of femtosecond CARS techniques.

Quantum many body problems: Historically, Einstein was the first to demonstrate the existence of the Bose Einstein condensate (BEC) in 1924. One might think that all problems concerning the BEC would have been solved in the 20's or 30's. Not so. Fluctuations in the BEC calculated using the grand canonical ensemble were completely wrong. As late as the '90's, it was noted that: "the grand canonical fluctuation catastrophe has been discussed by generations of physicists who have not solved the problem." Thus motivated, we have recently solved the problem [6,7] by extending the laser-phase transition analogy to include BEC.

Educational Background

Ed. D., 1959, Casper College

B. S., 1961, University of Wyoming

M. S., 1963, Yale University

Ph. D., 1966, Yale University

Awards & Recognition

  • APS Schawlow Prize for Laser Science
  • OSA Townes Award
  • IEEE Quantum Electronics Award

Selected Publications

  • PRL 95, 080401 (2005).
  • Nature Physics, Research Highlights, 25 August 2005.
  • M. Scully and M. S. Zubairy, Quantum Optics, Cambridge University Press (1997).
  • Science, 316, 265 (2007).
  • Science News 13 April (2007).