Genentech Seminar in Organic Chemistry: Fluorescent Sensing and Logic Systems

Seminar | March 6 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 120 Latimer Hall

 Prof. Amilra De Silva, School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Queen's University Belfast

 College of Chemistry

One of the main principles underlying fluorescent sensors is based on PET (photoinduced electron transfer), according to which a switching ‘on’ of fluorescence in response to chemical1 and biochemical2 analytes can be designed. Since its generalization in Colombo, Sri Lanka, it has now grown to involve 350 laboratories around the world. Some of these sensor systems are serving in critical care units in hospitals and in ambulances, performing blood diagnostics. These form the basis of a half-billion dollar industry.3 Other sensors visualize intracellular players. Yet others map species distributions in nanometric spaces near membranes.4 These spaces are too small for the tiniest silicon-based wireless devices to enter. Our introduction of molecular logic gates5,6 from Belfast, Northern Ireland, allows us to build more complex sensors and micro-object identification systems. More complex logic operations and even human-scale computations, e.g. edge detection of objects7 and outline drawing8 (Figure), are now achieved by molecular systems. 600 laboratories have contributed to this field so far. A short video is available at

 Light refreshments will be served at 10:50 at The Coffee Lab, 510-643-0572