Undergraduate Thesis Or Project


Fungal Photonics Public Deposited

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  • The spalting fungus Scytalidium cuboideum secretes a red pigment that produces naphthoquinonic crystals that are a photonic material candidate. The molecule can pack together in different configurations resulting in amazingly different optical properties. I developed a procedure (slowly evaporating the solvent) to preferentially grow two of these configurations, which have a stark color difference of red and orange. The red crystals have a photoluminescence signal two orders of magnitude greater than the orange crystals and is the determination between red and orange crystals, along with the striking color difference. The red crystals are needle like and fluoresce around 620nm (2eV). The orange crystals are a bulkier needle that fluoresce around 520nm (2.38eV). The orange crystals grow most readily. The red crystals grow under the same conditions as orange, but the ratio is around 95% orange and 5% red. To promote red crystal growth from an acetone solution, the solution was held at 59°C and left overnight resulting entirely in red crystal growth. The red crystals grow into long needles and when one end of the crystal is hit with a laser the other end will light up as well, showing these red crystals have waveguiding potential. The optical properties of this material in solution and how the optical properties change for the different packing configurations are determined using transmission absorption and emission spectroscopy. The excited state lifetimes were measured using time correlated single photon counting. Not only does this material have photonic applications but it is also sustainably sourced from a fungus and easy to process.
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