Current Research

Exploring Dynamics and Functionality of Biophotonic Molecules via Time-Resolved Spectroscopy

Biophotonic functions are triggered through light activation. The photoexcited biomolecules can undergo a variety of competing processes and the competition between these processes governs the selectivity, efficiency and reliability of their function. However, biophotonic molecules are not isolated and the local environment (e.g. solvent, protein shell) can have a large effect on dynamical processes. Nature can use specific intermolecular interactions to alter the energetic and dynamic properties of isolated building blocks thus the efficiency of a particular function can be enhanced with respect to undesired processes.

Our approach towards a molecular level understanding of biophotonic processes is to design time-resolved spectroscopic experiments in a controlled environment to distinguish between intrinsic and environmentally superimposed molecular properties. We use modern femtosecond and picosecond time-resolved pump-probe spectroscopies − both transient absorption and photoelectron photoion coincidence spectroscopy − to investigate dynamic biophotonic processes in the gas-phase, in molecular clusters, where the complexity of the environment can be varied, and in solution. Combined with ab initio calculations outcomes of our research include a molecular level understanding of biophotonic stability and the efficiency of biophotonic processes as well as molecular dynamics criteria for the rational design of novel biophotonic systems.