Biomolecules and nanostructures
The Optical Sciences group studies the interaction of light and matter. Our current focus is on detection and sensing/imaging with an emphasis on the development of integrated photonics. We are part of Twente University's Department of Science and Technology and member of the MESA+ institute.
The molecular light probe
The goal of this project is to try to improve the resolution of optical scanning probe techniques to below 10nm. In order to be able to study optical processes on a truly molecular scale. Different approaches are taken to reach this goal.
Sharp metal tips are used to induce local field enhancement. An important factor when employing metal tips near fluorescent molecules is quenching. To study the competition between quenching and field enhancement the fluorescence lifetime of the molecule understudy is monitored. When the metal is brought into close proximity to the molecule a reduction in the fluorescent lifetime is observed indicative of an increase of the non-radiative rates, quenching.
A second development will be a molecular light probe, i.e. a single emitter at a scanning probe tip. Hereto the application of active fluorophores, luminescent nanocrystals and color centers will be explored. With the molecular light probe energy transfer between pairs of molecules will be studied with fully controlled orientation, distance and environment.