Bio-Inspired Materials and Sensing

Yunqi and Soumya’s work featured on the cover of ACS Sensors!


In recent years, DNA has been extensively used to build bio-functionalized nanomaterials that demonstrate high selectivity and sensitivity as biosensors. The advent of photoswitch-modified DNA has enabled the construction of stimulus responsive nanoparticle assemblies that can be remotely and optically manipulated.


In the Ginger lab we are interested in studying the fundamental properties of optically reprogrammable nanomaterials with azobenzene-modified DNA. Azobenzene moieties provide a convenient reversible photoswitching function in these modified DNA assemblies.


We combine scanning probe methods and electron microscopy with different fundamental spectroscopic techniques to provide a detailed picture of the reprogrammable materials assembly and their controllable optical functionality.


We also aim to improve basic scientific understanding of the light-induced structural and dynamic melting properties of photoswitch-modified double stranded DNA sequences.


Beyond fundamental science, these dynamically reconfigurable nanostructures can be used in defense-related applications such as tagging, surveillance and energy efficient adaptive camouflage.