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Chemical Sensing

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Drops of Jupiter

by Alexandra A. Taylor
December 18, 2020


A photo of a flask containing a swirling, blue-green liquid.
Credit: Max Paukner

When Max Paukner, a PhD candidate at New York University, took this flask out of the rotary evaporator, she noticed this blue-green hemicyanine dye had been whipped into a vortex. “It reminded me of a rose, or the Juno probe photos of Jupiter,” Paukner says. “When my work culminates in a brilliantly colored dye like this, it really keeps the fire going in my heart and reaffirms my love of organic chemistry.” The compound in the flask was used to make a new type of dye, which her group hopes will be the foundation of a new class of metal sensors for use in cells and animals. “All living things rely on metal ions for osmotic regulation, catalysis, and structural stabilization. They are a crucial part of understanding human health and disease, but their regulation, function, and localization are not well understood,” Paukner says. Her lab aims to design and tune molecular systems that recognize specific metal species and convey quantitative data from within cells.

Submitted by Max Paukner

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