Gregory Scholes, Princeton University

Professor Princeton, New Jersey gscholes@princeton.edu Office: (609) 258-0729

Bio/Research

The Scholes Group studies how complex molecular systems in chemistry and biology interact with light. We are interested to learn the mechanisms for photo-initiated processes like solar energy conversion. In our research we use ultrafast lasers to time processes and reveal unforeseen details using...

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Bio/Research

The Scholes Group studies how complex molecular systems in chemistry and biology interact with light. We are interested to learn the mechanisms for photo-initiated processes like solar energy conversion. In our research we use ultrafast lasers to time processes and reveal unforeseen details using multidimensional electronic spectroscopy. Analysis and deeper understanding of our experiments is helped by quantum chemical calculations and other theoretical work.

Photosynthetic solar energy conversion, as one example of our research, occurs on an immense scale across the earth. It provides all of Earth’s oxygen and plays a deciding factor in global trends in climate, etc. Energy from sunlight is absorbed by special molecules, like chlorophyll, that are embedded in proteins, comprising the photosynthetic unit. Hundreds of these "chromophores" (light absorbing molecules) are used to harvest sunlight and direct the excitation energy to nature’s solar cells—proteins called reaction centers. Thus these light-harvesting complexes compensate for the mismatch between solar irradiance and the optimal rate of reaction center operation.


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