Miller Fellow, UC Berkeley 2005-2007
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2004
A.M., Harvard University, 2001
A.B., Princeton University, 1999
929 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637 USA
Research in the Engel Group focuses on excited state reactivity including excitonic transport, non-radiative relaxation to photochemical products, and new methods to image excited state dynamics. Excited states in the condensed phase have an extremely high chemical potential thereby making them highly reactive and difficult to control. Our control strategy involves exploiting coherent response of the environment to the excitation event. In particular, we develop methodologies to manipulate two fundamental components of excited state dynamics: exciton migration and non-radiative relaxation.
Our approach is inspired by biological systems optimized by evolution to exploit manifestly quantum mechanical phenomena to drive coherent energy transfer, to steer trajectories through conical intersections and to protect long-lived quantum coherence. Currently, we are focusing on four key scientific efforts: (1) new techniques to image excited state dynamics, (2) understanding mechanisms of quantum transport in photosynthesis, (3) dynamics of conical intersections in the condensed phase, and (4) engineering quantum dynamics in new classes of synthetic materials.
The Engel Group program explores the interface between biology and quantum mechanics by creating new tools to explore design principles of coherent processes in proteins. Photosynthetic light harvesting and photoenzymatic dynamics exploit coherent protein motions for chemical control in a way that we do not yet fully understand. For example, Photosynthetic antenna complexes operate with near perfect quantum efficiency and steer excitonic motion with exquisite precision. These complexes exploit both incoherent (Förster) energy transfer along with coherent (wavelike) motion of energy in a process called Environmentally Assisted Quantum Transport that offers quantum efficiency superior to either mechanism alone. The Engel group seeks to isolate and copy the microscopic details of this process. In particular, we want to know if the process is a result of evolutionary fine-tuning and, regardless, how we can enable coherent energy transfer in synthetic systems for light harvesting, sensing, and communications.
To probe these systems, we design new femtosecond spectrometers to observe how electronic states couple to one another much the way COSY NMR explores nuclear spin coupling. Exploiting this analogy, we recently developed the first optical analog to MRI for rapid detection electronic couplings. The Engel group is strongly interdisciplinary; graduate students matriculate through Chemistry and the Biophysical Sciences while postdoctoral scholars have PhDs in Chemistry or Physics. The group contains pure theorists, organic chemists, inorganic chemists, physical chemists, physicists, and biophysicists. Engel and his lab members collaborate with physicists, biologists, engineers, and corporate partners to develop new technologies and new science.
Born: 9/23/1977, West Chester, PA, USA.
Princeton University, A.B., 1999
Harvard University, A.M., 2001
Harvard University, Ph.D., 2004
Harvard University, Postdoctoral Scholar, 2004-2005
University of California, Berkeley, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005-2007
University of Chicago, Professor, 2007-
G.D. Scholes, G.R. Fleming, L.X. Chen, A. Aspuru-Guzik, A. Buchleitner, D.F. Coker, G.S. Engel, R. van Grondelle, A. Ishizaki, D.M. Jonas, J.S. Lundeen, J.K. McCusker, S. Mukamel, J.P. Ogilvie, A. Olaya-Castro, M.A. Ratner, F.C. Spano, K.B. Whaley, and X.Y. Zhu, "Using coherence to enhance function in chemical and biophysical systems Nature 543, 647–656 2017.
M. Bednarz, J. Lapin, R. McGillicuddy, K.M. Pelzer, G.S. Engel, and G.B. Griffin, "Modeling Ultrafast Exciton Migration Within the Electron Donor Domains of Bulk Heterojunction Organic Photovoltaics J. Phys. Chem. C, 121, 5467–5479 2017.
Y. Zhang, A. Wirthwein, F.H. Alharbi, G.S. Engel, and S. Kais., "Dark states enhance the photocell power via phononic dissipation Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18, 31845-31849 2016.
C. Wang*, M.L. Flanagan*, R.D. McGillicuddy, H. Zheng, A.R. Ginzburg, X. Yang, K. Moffat, and G.S. Engel, "Bacteriophytochrome Photoisomerization Proceeds Homogeneously Despite Heterogeneity in Ground State Biophysical Journal 111, 2125–2134 2016.
***Highlighted as a "New and Notable" contribution.***
B.S. Rolczynski, Polina Navotnaya, H.R. Sussman and G.S. Engel, "Cysteine-mediated mechanism disrupts energy transfer to prevent photooxidation PNAS 113, 8562–8564 2016.
Congratulations to Sara Sohail, Pete Dahlberg, Marco Allodi, Sara Massey, Po-Chieh Ting and our collaborators in the Hunter Group on having their paper entitled, "Broad Manifold of Excitonic States in Light-Harvesting Complex 1 Promotes Efficient Unidirectional Energy Transfer in vivo", accepted to JCP as a Communication.
Congratulations to Lili Wang, Graham Griffin, Alice Zhang, Nick Williams, and our collaborators in the Jordan Group on having their paper, entitled "Controlling quantum-beating signals in 2D electronic spectra by packing synthetic heterodimers on single-walled carbon nanotubes" published in Nature Chemistry.
Congratulations to Lili Wang, Nick Williams, John Otto, Dugan Hayes, and Ryan Wood along with our collaborators in the Guyot-Sionnest Group on having their paper entitled, "Scalable Ligand-Mediated Transport Synthesis of Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Perovskite Nanocrystals with Resolved Electronic Structure and Ultrafast Dynamics," accepted to ACS Nano.
Congratulations to Wave Wang, Moira Flanagan, Ryan McGillicuddy, Haibin Zheng, and Ruvim Ginzburg on their paper, entitled "Bacteriophytochrome Photoisomerization Proceeds Homogeneously Despite Heterogeneity in Ground State", publishing in Biophysical Journal. Thanks also to our collaborators, Profs. Keith Moffat and Xiaojing Yang.