Current Projects at the CPS

Research in the Center for Photochemical Sciences focuses on a wide range of investigations into the role of light in chemical and physical processes.  Such an emphasis enables collaborative, interdisciplinary research.  Collaboration occurs between Center research groups, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.  Collaboration also extends far beyond the University to national laboratories and other university research groups.  This research focus encourages a strong academic/industrial interface and collaborative research between Center groups and major industries. 

  • Regulation of photosynthesis; stress physiology of cyanobacteria, development of luminescent bioreporter sensor systems for environmental monitoring, diversity of phototrophic prokaryotes in aquatic systems.
  • Colloidal nanocrystals (quantum dots) based optoelectronics (light-emitting devices and solar cells); photophysics and photochemistry of colloidal nanostructured materials; quantum-dot biolabeling; nonlinear optics and laser spectroscopy; quantum electronics.
  • Mechanisms of long-range electron transfer in biological systems; photodynamic therapy; de novo protein designs.
  • Supersonic jet electronic spectroscopy of conformationally flexible molecules and clusters; effect of solvation and hydrogen bonding on structure.
  • Supramolecular inorganic photochemistry; electron and energy transfer processes; luminescence-based chemical sensing; electro-optical and photoswitchable materials; electroluminescence; time-resolved absorption, luminescence, and infrared spectroscopy of metal-organic chromophores.
  • Single-molecule spectroscopy and imaging microscopy, AFM, and NSOM studies of the dynamics of protein conformational change, DNA-protein interaction, and protein-protein interactions.
  • Nucleocytoplasmic trafficking mechanism, nuclear envelope disassembly and assembly mechanisms and application of quantum dots in biological systems.
  • Organocatalysts for solar water splitting: electrocatalytic water oxidation using flavinium ions and photochemical water reduction using organic hydride donors. A study using synthesis, electrochemistry and pump-probe laser spectroscopy.
  • Computational photochemistry and photobiology: Quantum-mechanics/molecular-mechanics methods for electronically excited states; Computer modeling of biological photoreceptors; Design of light-driven bio-mimetic molecular switches and rotors.
  • Designing RNA-based label-free biosensors; thermodynamic studies of RNA 3D motifs; inference of RNA 3D structure.
  • Single-molecule electron transfer dynamics in solar energy conversion.
  • Low power photon upconversion phenomena.
  • Homogeneous and heterogeneous solar fuels photocatalysis.
  • Interfacial electron transfer processes related to photovolatics.
  • Femtochemistry in condensed phases.
  • Structure-function studies of iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis proteins; X-ray crystallographic, biophysical and biochemical analyses of macromolecular targets