The Engel Group at The University of Chicago

The Engel Group strives to exploit femtosecond dynamics to steer and to control excited state reactivity. We use a combination of ultrafast spectroscopy, theory, synthesis, and biophysics to approach this problem.


Revealing Nature's Designs

Nature has had 2.4 billion years to evolve and engineer excited state dynamics. From photosynthesis to vision to photoenzymes, we examine natural mechanisms to steer excited states. Our goal is to isolate and identify new design principles to control quantum dynamics.

Steering Excited State Dynamics

Electronic excited states carry enough energy to make and break chemical bonds. Photochemistry operates outside the Born-Oppenheimer regime -- thereby escaping our standard chemical intuition. We seek new strategies to steer excited states and to control their reactivity.


Seeing the Unseen

You can't engineer what you can't see. We build new spectroscopic tools to probe femtosecond dynamics of electronic excitations. In living cells, protein complexes, and small molecules, we capture how these systems evolve with unprecedented depth and specificity.

Fellowship   7/15/2024

Daniela Santillán-Enríquez

Congratulations to Daniela Santillán-Enríquez on receiving Metcalf fellowship to support her research.

Welcome   6/21/2024

Ashley Amidei

Welcome to Ashley Amidei who is joining our group for the summer to work on quantum dynamics and curriculum for deployment within Chicago Public Schools.

Paper Published   6/5/2024

Qijie ShenRachel Leech

Congratulations to Qijie Shen, Rachel Leech, and our collaborators in Wenbin Lin's group on their paper entitled "Simultaneous Protonation and Metalation of a Porphyrin Covalent Organic Framework Enhance Photodynamic Therapy" publishing in JACS.

Congratulations   6/3/2024

Ainsley IwanickiHugh Cairney

Congratulations to Ainsley Iwanicki and Hugh Cairney on their graduation!

Quantum Biology activities within the Engel Group

Quantum Biology

Ultrafast Spectroscopy activities within the Engel Group

Ultrafast Spectroscopy

Quantum Materials activities within the Engel Group

Quantum Materials

Photocatalysis activities within the Engel Group


Theory activities within the Engel Group


Coherent Dynamics activities within the Engel Group

Coherent Dynamics

Light Harvesting Materials activities within the Engel Group

Light Harvesting Materials

Ultrafast Chiral Response activities within the Engel Group

Ultrafast Chiral Response

Live Cell Studies activities within the Engel Group

Live Cell Studies

W. Zhen, D.W. Kang, Y. Fan, Z. Wang, T. Germanas, G.T. Nash, Q. Shen, R. Leech, J. Li, G.S. Engel, R.R. Weichselbaum, and W. Lin, "Simultaneous Protonation and Metalation of a Porphyrin Covalent Organic Framework Enhance Photodynamic Therapy", JACS ASAP

E. Fresch, F.V.A. Camargo, Q. Shen, C.C. Bellora, T. Pullerits, G.S. Engel, G. Cerullo, and E. Collini, "Two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy", Nature Reviews Methods Primers 3 84 2023.

I. Avdic, L.M. Sager-Smith, I. Ghosh, O.C. Wedig, J.S. Higgins, G.S. Engel, and D.A. Mazziotti, "Quantum sensing using multi-qubit quantum systems and the Pauli polytope", Phys. Rev. Research 5, 043097 2023.

G. Lin, G.T. Nash, T. Luo, I. Ghosh, S. Sohoni, A.J. Christofferson, G. Liu, G.S. Engel, W. Lin, "Two-Dimensional Nanosonosensitizers Facilitate Energy Transfer to Enhance Sonodynamic Therapy", Advanced Materials, 35, 2212069 2023.

University of Chicago
Chemistry Department
Biophysical Sciences
Institute for Molecular Engineering
James Franck Institute
Institute for Biophysical Dynamics
Lockheed Martin