Activatable Fluorophores: Nano Seminar Series

Seminar | January 27 | 2-3 p.m. | 390 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

 Prof. Françisco M. Raymo, Univ. of Miami, Chemistry

 Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute

The goal of our research program is the development of operating principles to activate the fluorescence of organic chromophores under either chemical or optical control.

In particular, we design molecules capable of switching from a nonemissive to an emissive state, upon either acidification or illumination at an appropriate activation wavelength, and then produce fluorescence, after irradiation at a given excitation wavelength. The former mechanism can transduce pH changes into fluorescence signals and permits the imaging of acidic intracellular compartments with excellent contrast. The latter mechanism can activate fluorescence within a defined region of space at a specific interval of time, relying exclusively on the interplay of beams illuminating the sample at the activation and excitation wavelengths.

Such level of spatiotemporal control offers the opportunity to overcome diffraction and reconstruct fluorescence images with spatial resolution at the nanometer level as well as to monitor dynamic events in real time with the sequential acquisition of fluorescence images.

We are particularly interested in exploring these operating principles for either chemical or optical fluorescence activation to detect cancer cells, visualize intracellular substructures with nanoscale resolution and track the translocation of species within living organisms. Thus, our fundamental investigations on molecular switches can eventually lead to the realization of innovative imaging probes for a diversity of bioanalytical applications.