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Fundamentals of the interaction between light and soft matter

Biologically produced fluorescent proteins retain their high brightness even at the maximum density in solid state through a special molecular structure that provides optimal balance between high protein concentration and low resonance energy transfer self-quenching.

All of our work is underpinned and inspired by a range of fundamental research activities on understanding and tuning the interaction of light with soft materials.

A prominent example is the work on understanding the fundamental photophysical properties of the biologically produced GFP and related proteins [Nature Communications, 2014; Advance Functional Material, 2018]. This work has led to a breakthrough in strong light-matter coupling: GFP was used to engineer the first organic polariton laser that operates in a quasi-cw pumping regime [Science Advances, 2016; Advanced Materials, 2017; Advanced Optical Materials, 2017].

In another project the our work has pioneered the use of semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotubes (s-SWCNTs) for strong light-matter coupling, where their spectrally narrow absorption, small Stokes shift and high charge carrier mobility were found to be highly beneficial [Nature Materials, 2017; Nature Communications, 2016; Advanced Materials, 2018].

In collaboration with others we have also recently used strong light light-matter coupling to reduce voltage losses in organic photovoltaics by tuning the absorption band of the active material [Nature Communications, 2019]. “