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Video Transcript – Dyes, DNA and ‘Ghosts’

Video Transcript

(upbeat music)

[Dr. Jeunghoon Lee, associate professor, Materials Science and Engineering/Chemistry]: So what we’re trying to do here is actually using DNA to configure dye molecules in a certain geometry to maximize their performance. So the performance we are after, this was called quantum coherence. So we want the energy transfer between dyes with the preservation of the quantum coherence information. And we are using DNA as a tool for achieving that. So with DNA scaffolding, we can achieve a spatial resolution down to nanometer scale. So it’s not possible to do that using other materials. And DNA is actually used in a lot of different applications, so that makes the availability of DNA great. So you can simply, you know, buy the DNA with any sequences from a lot of different manufacturers, we just simply need to type in the sequence, and then just hit enter, and then we receive the DNA. And they’re fairly inexpensive.

[Dr. Olya Mass, senior research scholar, Materials Science and Engineering]: We do take, yes, inspiration from plants. And specifically we’ve taken inspiration from photosynthetic antenna in green plants or purple bacterium. So, for example, in those natural photosynthetic antenna there are pigments. So they’re usually called chlorophylls. So those pigments nature uses to absorb light and funnel the excitation energy to the reaction center. The nature funnels it to the reaction center using principles of quantum mechanics. Some researchers believe that we are trying to make this synthetic analogs of those natural pigments like chlorophylls advance their properties in terms of stability, in terms of function, but pretty much we are trying to mimic natural pigments and use them in our quantum material. So we are trying to mimic natural pigments and make them do what they’re doing in photosynthetic antenna. Doing quantum research and creating those quantum materials, we will be able to create information systems that will solve some particular problems much faster and using less energy. So it might be very important, for example, medical diagnostics when we would have to consider like many, many scenarios or paths simultaneously.

(machine whirring)

[Dr. Jeunghoon Lee]: For students it is a very unique opportunity to get involved in this high caliber research. I believe we are one of the groups that got into DNA nanotechnology pretty early on since late 2000s. And at Boise State we have the freedom to collaborate with a lot of other researchers. Partly because we are small, smaller than other institutions. And that made it possible to assemble an awesome group of researchers.