The cuvettes pictured here contain some of the most optimized rhodamine dyes that synthetic organic chemist Jon Grimm has made as a Senior Scientist in the Lavis Lab at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus. Grimm took this photo as he was catching up on measuring their absorbance and fluorescence spectra on a sunny summer day. These dyes combine several of the best strategies Grimm and his coworkers have devised over the years for finely tuning the molecules’ fluorescence wavelength, brightness, photostability, and other qualities. Their goal is to make the best possible fluorescent labels for high-resolution biological imaging and single-particle tracking. After the dyes’ photophysical properties were characterized, the researchers moved on to functionalizing them for bioconjugation so they could see how well the dyes worked for imaging cells.
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