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Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Laser activated

by Manny Morone
August 27, 2019

Four cuvettes fluorescing cyan, yellow, orange, and red as a laser passes through them.
Credit: Bruna Martins de França
The structure of curcumin derivatives with electron-donating groups added to the molecule's termini.

As the light from a single ultraviolet laser cuts through these cuvettes, it looks like it changes colors. In fact, what’s happening is that each of these solutions contains a slightly different fluorescent molecule known as a curcumin derivative (general structure shown). These molecules each have slightly different electron-donating groups attached, causing the solutions to light up in distinct colors when they interact with laser light. Bruna Martins de França, a PhD student in the lab of David Ernest Nicodem at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, is studying these molecules for applications in photodynamic therapy for cutaneous sporotrichosis, a fungal skin disease that is a growing problem in Brazil. De França hopes these molecules can be applied and activated with a laser through a patient’s infected skin, where they would generate reactive oxygen species that show efficient antifungal action.

Submitted by Bruna Martins de França

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