Sension Group Lab
(1) Cis/trans isomerization reactions of polyenes such as
those active in molecular motors and water soluble
(2) Electrocyclic ring-opening reactions exploiting the
(3) Cobalamins (e.g. vitamin B12) and similar molecules
capable of photoactivated ligand release.
Light, Molecules, Action!
Light, especially laser light, provides a versatile energy source capable of precise manipulation of material
systems on size scales ranging from molecular to macroscopic. Photochemistry provides the means for harnessing
light energy throughthe movement of charge, a change in molecular shape, or the cleavage of a bond. That is:
photochemistry produces action. This allows the development of remotely controlled molecular devices.
The potential applications for optically powered molecular devices cover a wide range, from motors and switches
to sensors and delivery platforms.
We focus on three specific types of systems:
The practical development of optically controlled molecular devices faces a range of challenges. In our group
we use time-resolved spectroscopic methods coupled with theoretical simulations to investigate, predict, and
control the photochemistry of important light-activated transformations. Femtosecond transient absorption
spectroscopy in the UV-visible and near-IR region of the spectrum is used to characterize time-scales and
monitor product formation. State-of-the-art femtosecond X-ray studies carried out at X-ray free electron
laser facilities such as LCLS at SLAC in California, SACLA in Japan, and the European XFEL in Germany
allow the direct observation of structural evolution beginning at the very earliest times.
For a more detailed description of specific
research projects choose the appropriate