Professor Takayoshi Kobayashi has made numerous seminal contributions in the broad area of ultrashort pulse lasers and ultrafast spectroscopy. His outstanding scientific work focused on the development of ultrashort pulse laser and its applications to ultrafast spectroscopy by realizing the transition-state spectroscopy, which is the long-desired dream of scientists to observe molecular structures during the excited-state relaxations and chemical reactions and even during molecular vibration. Hus group has been keeping the shortest record of visible pulse from 1998 for more than 13 years and reached 2.4fs in 2111.
The reactions studied his group are cis-trans isomerization, proton transfer, oxidation, and Claisen rearrangement. Until their study of the real-time vibrational spectroscopy of bacteriorhodopsin, information of the structure of the transition state had been studied only theoretically.
Prof. Kobayashi developed completely different methods of controlling reactions from conventional coherent control by the quantum interference using his new stabilization scheme of the absolute phase of ultrashort pulse. This method has three advantages over the feedback (FB) method developed by Hall and Haensch (Nobel Award in physics 2005), in such a way that (1) no need for FB electronics, (2) no need for octave spanning of spectrum (3) applicable to amplifier system.
He was awarded the Humboldt Award in 2011 for the above achievement in his research.