After drying the liquid in his flask under high vacuum, Priya Ranjan Sahoo saw this foam start to bubble up and fill the vessel. Oddly, this netlike foam glowed under ultraviolet light because his product was a silicon rhodamine molecule. Sahoo, a postdoc at Tohoku University’s Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials, aims to use silicon rhodamines as switchable fluorescent probes in imaging experiments. The key to switchability is controlling which form the molecule takes: when its five-membered lactone ring is intact, the molecule shows very little fluorescence, but when the lactone pops open (transformation shown in scheme), it exhibits an eerie blue glow under a variety of ultraviolet wavelengths (center and right photo; visible light shown in left photo).
Submitted by Priya Ranjan Sahoo
Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.
This story was updated on Oct. 1, 2020, to correct description of the left and right photos. Those descriptions were originally reversed.