CCB Departmental Seminar – Prof. Jennifer Chen, Department of Chemistry, York University, Toronto


Title:                    “Plasmonic andphotonic nanomaterials for sensing and light-driven processes”

Date:                    Thursday, April22nd, 2021 

Time:                   1:30 p.m.  

 Zoom:               available from  

 Host:                    Dr. Peter Kruse and Dipankar Saha 


The interaction of light with matterunderpins many biological functions and technological applications. Fromphotosynthesis to photovoltaic cells and colorimetric diagnostics, light isboth valuable as a source of energy and a spectroscopic probe. In this talk, Ifirst present our work on developing discrete plasmonic nanoparticle assembliesfor sensing biomarkers. We design gold nanoparticles linked by oligonucleotidesto undergo disassembly upon binding of targets, achieved through conformationalchanges of the aptamer linker or via a nucleic acid strand-displacementreaction. Detection via the disassembly of the structures yields a dramaticdecrease in the light scattering intensity that can be analyzed rapidly fromdarkfield microscopy images, presenting a rapid and simple methodology for thebiomolecular analysis of single cells and microenvironments. The portable andeconomical analytical platform may broaden the affordability and applicabilityof single-cell based analyses and enable new opportunities in clinical caresuch as on-site molecular pathology. In the second part of the talk, Ihighlight our work on examining photonic properties and interfacial chemistryof a metal oxide-organic polymer hybrid structure. Changes in the absorptionand energy alignment at the interface lead to differences in the polarongeneration. The studies have implications on the design, surface passivationand materials selection for hybrid/organic photovoltaics

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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Chemistry & Chemical Biology