Bio-optics and bio-optical materials

Prof. Alison Sweeney and her colleagues believe that the reflective structures in giant clams help them grow algae. The clams use sub-wavelength structures formed from a protein called reflectin to optimize the photosynthesis of the algae living in the clam tissues.

Premelting of Colloidal Crystals

Premelting is the localized loss of crystalline order at surfaces and defects at temperatures below the melting transition.  This result is from the lab of Prof. Arjun Yodh.


Protein-Nanotube Hybrid

The image depicts a nanobiosensor consisting of a carbon nanotube (gray) covalently attached to the coxsackie-adenovirus receptor (magenta). This device detects the adenovirus, one of the viruses responsible for the common cold, when Knob proteins from the virus capsid (orange) bind to the receptor (magenta). These devices were synthesized in Prof. Charlie Johnson's group.


David Rittenhouse Laboratory - Walnut Street view

DRL is the academic home of the Mathematics and Physics and Astronomy departments at Penn.  It is named for David Rittenhouse, a noted American astronomer born near Germantown, Philadelphia.  Rittenhouse was one of the first to build a telescope in the United States and was Professor of Astronomy at Penn starting in 1779.


Vector Bundles on Calabi-Yau Manifolds

Supersymmetric vacua of the heterotic string and M-theory are explored through the study of complex algebraic geometry.  The figure is from a recent paper by Prof. Burt Ovrut and collaborators on the Kahler cone substructure associated with the SU(2) bundle for different Kahler moduli.