Samuel Patterson spotted this swirling pattern in a flask after he removed the solvent from a solution he made. Because the flask was rotating as the contents dried, the glowing drop of Patterson’s product made this swirl on the flask’s walls. Patterson, a PhD student in Filipe Vilela’s lab at Heriot-Watt University, works with compounds like this photosensitizing dye, which absorb visible and ultraviolet light and can transfer that energy to other molecules. This project focuses on creating polymer systems that can transfer the energy they absorb to oxygen in the surrounding air, creating excited oxygen molecules that are toxic to bacteria and viruses. Patterson plans to use these compounds in surface-disinfecting applications.
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