Françisco M. Raymo
Research within the Laboratory for Molecular Photonics is aimed at the identification of valuable strategies to manipulate molecules with photons and photons with molecules on the basis of absorption and emission processes. The ultimate goal of these fundamental studies is the development of new phenomena and innovative materials for possible applications in biomedical research and information technology. This experimental program demands the design and synthesis of inorganic nanoparticles, organic compounds and macromolecular constructs, their structural characterization and the investigation of their electrochemical, photochemical and photophysical properties. In this context, the Laboratory for Molecular Photonics has already developed mechanisms to:
· perform logic operations with photochromic compounds;
· sense analytes with chromogenic and luminescent assemblies of inorganic nanoparticles and organic compounds;
· self-assemble films of electrochromic building blocks on metallic electrodes;
· design photochromic compounds with fast switching speeds and excellent fatigue resistances.
· activate the luminescence of biocompatible quantum dots with optical stimulations.
Current research efforts are directed to the design of molecular strategies to overcome diffraction and permit the acquisition of fluorescence images with resolution at the nanometer level. These fundamental investigations can ultimately lead to valuable analytical tools for the visualization of biological samples at the nanoscale with far-field optics and, therefore, can have a significant impact on biomedical research. Specifically, the Laboratory for Molecular Photonics is in the process of developing experimental protocols to: