Weiss leverages quantum mechanics to produce desirable bioactive molecules
CBES investigator Emily Weiss led a team of researchers who used visible light and tiny nanoparticles known as quantum dots to make molecules of a class that is highly desirable for drug development. The nanoparticle catalysts — only three nanometers across — can be reused for additional chemical reactions, and the work represents the first use of a nanoparticle’s surface as a template for a light-driven reaction called a cycloaddition.
“Quantum dots behave more like organic molecules than metal nanoparticles,” Weiss said. “The electrons are squeezed into such a small space that their reactivity follows the rules of quantum mechanics. We can take advantage of this, along with the templating power of the nanoparticle surface.”