Archive 2017

Here you can find past events of the MPSD institute.

Host: R. J. Dwayne Miller

Kay Gruenewald - Structural cell biology of virus-host interactions - an integrative approach

MPSD ARD Seminar

Shaul Mukamel - Ultrafast Multidimensional Spectroscopy of Molecules with x-ray pulses and Quantum Light in Microcavities

MPSD ARD Seminar
Multidimensional spectroscopy uses sequences of optical pulses to study dynamical processes in complex molecules through correlation plots involving several time delay periods. Extensions of these techniques to the x-ray regime will be discussed. Ultrafast nonlinear x-ray spectroscopy is made possible by newly developed free electron laser and high harmonic generation sources. The attosecond duration of X-ray pulses and the atomic selectivity of core X-ray excitations offer a uniquely high spatial and temporal resolution. Stimulated Raman detection of an X-ray probe may be used to monitor the phase and dynamics of nonequilibrium valence electronic state wavepackets created by e.g. photoexcitation, photoionization and Auger processes. Novel ultrafast X ray probes for strongly coupled electron-nuclear dynamics , techniques based on a coherent stimulated Raman process that employs a composite femtosecond/attosecond X-ray pulse to directly detect the electronic coherences (rather than populations) , and new imaging techniques based on x-ray diffraction from electronic coherence will be presented. Nonlinear optical signals induced by quantized light fields and entangled photon pairs are presented. Conventional nonlinear spectroscopy uses classical light to detect matter properties through the variation of its response with frequencies or time delays. Quantum light opens up new avenues for spectroscopy by utilizing parameters of the quantum state of light as novel control knobs and through the variation of photon statistics by coupling to matter. Entangled-photon pairs are not subjected to the classical Fourier limitations on the joint temporal and spectral resolution. Strong coupling of molecules to the vacuum field of micro cavities can modify the potential energy surfaces thereby manipulating the photophysical and photochemical reaction pathways. Crossings of electronic potential surfaces in nuclear configuration space, known as conical intersections, determine the rates and outcomes of virtually all photochemical molecular processes. Strong coupling of molecules to the quantum vacuum field of micro cavities that can be used to manipulate their photophysical and photochemical reaction pathways and polariton relaxation in photosynthetic antennae are demonstrated. [more]

Thomas Renger - Structure-based theory of light-harvesting in photosynthesis

MPSD ARD Seminar
Two challenges in the simulation of excitation energy transfer and optical spectra of pigment-protein complexes are the equal magnitude of the excitonic and the exciton-vibrational coupling and the structure-based parametrization of the Hamiltonian (for review see ref. 1). We have developed quantum chemical/electrostatics/normal mode analysis (NMA) schemes to calculate optical transition energies of pigments in their binding site in the protein (site energies), interpigment excitonic couplings and the spectral density of the pigment-protein coupling. Our NMA of the spectral density shows that the modulation of site energies is an order of magnitude stronger than that of the excitonic couplings and that also in the basis of delocalized exciton states the diagonal exciton-vibrational coupling dominates [2]. This result explains the good performance of our earlier time-local lineshape theory [3], in which the diagonal elements are treated exactly and the off-diagonal elements in Markov and secular approximations, and triggered a new development that takes into account the finite relaxation time of nuclei during exciton relaxation [4]. I will give a summary of our theory development and present applications on a small model system (water soluble chlorophyll binding protein -WSCP) and large photosystem II core particles. In the case of WSCP we have developed and applied a theory of holeburning spectroscopy [5] that goes beyond the standard two-level system approach and allows for a quantitative description of experimental data, revealing the lifetime of the upper exciton state, in excellent agreement with results from 2D electronic spectroscopy and our earlier prediction [6]. In the case of photosystem II I will present results of the parametrization of the exciton Hamiltonian of its subunits [7-9]. These parameters were used to describe VIS/IR pump-probe data on single crystals of PSII core particles [10] that allowed for a verification of our earlier prediction [11] on the relative timescale of excitation energy and charge transfer in this system. The results are discussed in terms of photoprotection scenarios that allow photosystem II to switch between a light harvesting and an excitation energy quenching mode protecting the reaction center. [more]

Lipeng Chen - Theory meets spectroscopy: ensemble and single-molecule spectroscopic studies of ultrafast energy transfer processes in light harvesting systems

MPSD ARD Seminar
To a large extent, our knowledge of the photoinduced dynamics of molecular systems at the atomic level is shaped by nonlinear femtosecond spectroscopy. Traditionally, nonlinear femtosecond spectroscopy is an ensemble spectroscopy, performed on ensembles of identical chromophores in the gas phase or in the liquid phase. Modern femtosecond spectroscopy comprises a set of various third-order or higher-order technique including, for example, fluorescence up conversion, transient absorption, and photon echo spectroscopy. Very recently, the portfolio of femtosecond techniques has been extended towards singlemolecule detection by the development of fluorescence-detected double-pump singlemolecule spectroscopy. With this technique, a temporal resolution of about ten femtoseconds has been achieved. The technique permits the real-time monitoring of not only electronic populations, but also of electronic and vibrational coherence for individual molecules. [more]

Shinji Saito - Supercooled water: Fluctuation, glass transition, and vibrational entropy

MPSD ARD Seminar
Water is the most common liquid. Its properties are not, however, common. Since the anomalies of water become pronounced at low temperatures, especially below its melting temperature, it has been proposed that the anomalous properties are attributed to the presence of two liquid states corresponding to the two amorphous ices. Experimental studies of supercooled water are however very difficult. This is due to the fact that bulk water is easily transferred to a crystalline phase in the “no man’s land”, which is a temperature range bounded by the crystallization of supercooled water at ~235K and by that of highly viscous liquid water at ~150K. Therefore, various theoretical and computational studies have been conducted for understanding the properties in the no man’s land. We have performed extensive molecular dynamics simulations from normal liquid to deeply supercooled states to reveal the structural and dynamical instabilities in the no man’s land. The spatiotemporal fluctuations, dynamic transition, glass transition, and vibrational contribution to Kauzmann temperature of supercooled water will be discussed. [more]
Spectroscopic mapping by STEM/EELS has proven to be a powerful technique for determining the structure, chemistry and bonding of interfaces, reconstructions, and defects. So far, most efforts in the physical sciences have focused on room temperature measurements where atomic resolution mapping of composition and bonding has been demonstrated [1-3]. For many materials, including those that exhibit electronic and structural phase transitions below room temperature and systems that involve liquid/solid interfaces, STEM/EELS measurements at low temperature are required. Operating close to liquid nitrogen temperature gives access to a range of emergent electronic states in solid materials and allows us to study processes at liquid/solid interfaces immobilized by rapid freezing [4,5]. [more]

Ming Lei - Capping the Ends: Structure and Function of Telomere Proteins

MPSD Seminar
Telomeres, the natural ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes, are specialized protein-DNA complexes that play essential roles in cell viability and genome integrity. The long-term goal of my research is to understand how telomeres protect chromosome ends and mediate their replication by telomerase. A six-protein complex, called shelterin, associates with telomeres and protects the ends of human chromosomes. A major gap in our knowledge of the shelterin complex is how its protein components organize at telomeres. I will present our recent studies that reveal the molecular architecture and functional significance of the shelterin complex. [more]

Dr. Heloise Therien-Aubin - Engineering the interface of nanocolloids with polymers

MPSD Seminar
In the design of nanocolloids for targeted applications, whether the nanoparticles are used as drug delivery vehicles or as filler in nanocomposites, it is crucial to control the stability, the miscibility and/or the self-assembly of the nanocolloids. In order to gain such control, the surface of the nanocolloid is frequently functionalized by tethering a corona of either small molecules or polymer chains. The nature and the composition of the corona formed by the tethered molecules dictate the interactions between the nanocolloids and their environment and thus the final behavior of the material. Nanoparticles functionalized with a corona of polymer brush were used in the design of hierarchically structured materials and displayed new collective properties. By varying the degree of polymerization, the grafting density and the chemical composition of the polymer chains, a variety of structures were obtained. We now want to establish a correlation between the mesoscopic properties observed in these nanoparticle-based systems with the properties, structure and dynamic of the polymer brush layer. [more]
Go to Editor View