Our laboratory peforms research spanning biophysics, chemical physics, and quantum optics.
In one effort, our group is actively engaged at the interface of quantum optics with physical chemistry. In this research, we manipulate the properties of light at the single photon or few photon level. By employing “quantum engineered” light for spectroscopy, we aim to harness the remarkable quantum mechanical properties such as entanglement, superposition, and coherence in order to increase the sensitivity and information content of spectroscopy. We are particularly interested in “real world” measurements on complex molecular and nano-materials systems in room temperature liquids, thin films, or crystals.
For a recent publication on this topic from our lab, see https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevApplied.15.044012
In another major effort, our group is particularly interested in whether fluorescent proteins (FPs) can be engineered to have photophysical properties, such as brightness, that are superior to those of conventional organic fluorophores, and if so, what are the structural and dynamical features of FPs that enable these properties? We use a combination of random and targeted mutagenesis to create and assess new red/far-red FPs with improved spectral and cellular properties. We have designed and operated several novel microfluidic systems for screening these large libraries of mutants. For example, microdroplets containing 1–3 bacterial cells, each expressing a unique protein variant, can be individually excited by a chosen laser wavelength, their emission assessed via a customized detection system, and the droplets/cells of interest collected through a gated channel. Thus we can enhance for a cell population carrying FPs with particular qualities.
For recent publications, see: