Colloquia & Guest Speakers

Non-linear organic small molecule imaging agents

Professor Andrea Armani, Sr. Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Ellison Institute and Ray Irani, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California

Monday, October 30, 2023
3:30 p.m.

Presented in-person in Goergen 101 and on Zoom

Zoom Information

Meeting ID: 952 7674 7247
Passcode: 964579


From multi-photon to single molecule, the past several decades have witnessed a revolution in fluorescent microscopy. These techniques have revealed the inner working of cells and tissue and have relied on symbiotic advances in advanced molecular probes, light emitting molecules and particles, and novel instrumentation. Following on these developments, researchers began to develop functional nanomaterials or materials that can response to their environment. One of the first such molecules reported electric fields, allowing neuron signaling to be observed. However, the optical signal generated by voltage reporters is often low and the molecule is slow to respond, placing limitations on the measurements that can be performed. Thus, material scientists and chemists began to pursue the development of alternative systems. In parallel, the fields of organic solar cells and integrated photonics were actively pursuing the design of materials with similar active properties, thus forming a foundation for improved functional organic imaging agents. In this talk, I will discuss some of our recent work in developing functional imaging agents for multi-wavelength and multi-photon live-cell imaging, focusing on recent molecules designed using density functional theory as well as experimental in vitro demonstrations with cancer and neurons.


Professor Andrea Armani is currently the Sr. Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the Ellison Institute and the Ray Irani Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Southern California. Her research team is focused on the development of new optical materials for integrated photonics with applications in healthcare. She received her BA in physics from the University of Chicago and her PhD in applied physics with a minor in biology from the California Institute of Technology. Her work has been recognized with several awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama, NIH New Innovator Award, and Optica Hopkins Leadership Award. She is a Fellow of Optica, SPIE, AAAS, and NAI.