My research project
Molecular Photonics based on Chlorophyll Self-Assembled on Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes
In the early stages of my project I will be investigating the coupling of porphyrins (electron/energy donor in chlorophyll) with various metal centres assembled on carbon nanostructures that act as a charge/energy acceptor. The effect of the linker - covalently bonded or otherwise - will also be studied.
Following this, the problem of self assembly of the porphyrins onto the nanostructures will be investigated and optical properties measured. Probing the conditions that affect energy transfer in organic-inorganic systems are a mainstay of the project.
Prior to my PhD at the Leverhulme Quantum Biology Doctoral Training Centre I completed my MPhys degree at Surrey, working at TRIUMF particle accelerator centre in Vancouver, Canada. There I computationally investigated kinematic effects within an internal conversion electron detector.
- Novel solar energy solutions
- Nanomaterials: graphene and carbon nanotubes
- Steady-state and time-resolved photoluminescence, absorption and Raman spectroscopy characterisation methods
- Self-assembly of porphyrinic molecules on carbon nanostructures
- High-concentration low-quenching biological light-harvesting synthetic analogous systems
By adopting structural conformations with sub-nanometer precision, nature creates highly concentrated pigment-protein arrays to capture solar energy with high-efficiency. Synthetic analogues of such systems exhibit concentration dependent fluorescence quenching when approaching pigment concentrations of that seen in biological systems. Here we report on systems of acid functionalised multi-walled carbon nanotubes (o-MWCNT) and aminophenyl tetraporphyrins that create a novel synthetic pigment-scaffold complex. The complex does not follow the trend of typical fluorescence quenching. Our steady-state and time-resolved data suggest an optimal concentration that offers a luminescence enhancement compared to the expected standard Stern-Volmer quenching relationship. The quenching is modified by controlling 1 the pigment-distance via agglomerate size to near the upper limit for Dex-ter transfer of 10Å10˚10Å as confirmed by dynamic light scattering measurements and chromophore-chromophore nearest neighbour calculations. Our results highlight a potential synthetic complex with facile synthesis to investigate resonant electron transfer processes that do not follow traditional luminescence self-quenching relationships.
Understanding the rules of life is one of the most important scientific endeavours and has revolutionised both biology and biotechnology. Remarkable advances in observation techniques allow us to investigate a broad range of complex and dynamic biological processes in which living systems could exploit quantum behaviour to enhance and regulate biological functions. Recent evidence suggests that these non-trivial quantum mechanical effects may play a crucial role in maintaining the non-equilibrium state of biomolecular systems. Quantum biology is the study of such quantum aspects of living systems. In this review, we summarise the latest progress in quantum biology, including the areas of enzyme-catalysed reactions, photosynthesis, spin-dependent reactions, DNA, fluorescent proteins, and ion channels. Many of these results are expected to be fundamental building blocks towards understanding the rules of life.