Photonics and Optoelectronics Group

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Our research team aims at developing and applying innovative nanophotonic tools, such as plasmonic nanosystems, biocompatible fluorescent nanoparticles and molecular photo-switches to study, manipulate and control the physical properties of biological systems with light.
Amongst our activities, we investigate how plasmonic nanoparticles with complex geometries can be employed for enhanced biosensing, single molecule Raman spectroscopy, optical force manipulation, and localized heat generation at the nanoscale.
Furthermore, we investigate how photonic nanoagents enable optical control of liposomes and lipid nanoparticles for bio-engineering and spectroscopy applications. The optically triggered isomerization of azobenzene is an example of a molecular photo-switch. When embedded in a lipid bilayer, switching can induce strong changes of the overall membrane properties. Inspired by these capabilities, we employ photolipid molecules as a tool to emulate key cell membrane processes and to achieve optical control of membrane function on the nanoscale.