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.

Shut The Sash   3/9/2023


Congratulations to the group for winning donuts from the University's "Shut the Sash" energy saving competition.

CZI BioHub Chicago   3/2/2023


The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is launching a new $275M BioHub in Chicago to address immunity and inflammation with quantum sensing as a key technological pillar.

Public Safety Advisory Council   3/1/2023

Indranil Ghosh

Thank you to Indranil Ghosh for representing all of us on the the University of Chicago’s Public Safety Advisory Council.

Paper Accepted   2/15/2023

Indranil GhoshSiddhartha Sohoni

Congratulations to Indranil Ghosh, Sid Sohoni, and all our collaborators in the Lin Group on having our paper entitled, "Two-Dimensional Nanosonosensitizers Facilitate Energy Transfer to Enhance Sonodynamic Therapy" accepted at Advanced Materials.

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

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, (accepted)

P. Navotnaya,* S. Sohoni,* L.T. Lloyd, S. Abdulhadi, P.-C. Ting, J.S. Higgins, and G.S. Engel, "Annihilation of Excess Excitations along Phycocyanin Rods Precedes Downhill Flow to Allophycocyanin Cores in the Phycobilisome of Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942", JPCB 126 23–29 2022.

* These authors contributed equally

J.S. Higgins, W.R. Hollingsworth, L.T. Lloyd, and G.S. Engel, "Quantum Coherence in Chemical and Photobiological Systems", Emerging Trends in Chemical Applications of Lasers, ACS Symposium Series #1398, Edited by M.R. Berman, L. Young, and H.-L. Dai, ACS Books 2021.

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