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The potential of light as a tool

August 2012. Spatial and temporal control over chemical and biological processes plays a key role in life but is still poorly understood. Sophisticated tools are required that allow scientists to better understand these relationships and especially the problems arising from malfunctions. Highly valuable in this respect are external triggers that enable scientists to precisely determine where, when, and to what extent a process is started or stopped. Light is a particularly promising external trigger in this respect as it is not only highly selective but also harmless if applied correctly. Light can be generated and manipulated with well-established techniques. Many ways exist to apply light to living systems from cells to higher organisms. A comprehensive review published recently by a team lead by Alexander Heckel describes the developments in this field over the last six years and discusses the underlying technologies and their applications. More…

Prof. Dr. Alexander Heckel
Institute of Organic Chemistry
Goethe University Frankfurt
Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Max von Laue Str. 15
60438 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 (0)69 798-42512

Full reference:
Clara Brieke, Falk Rohrbach, Alexander Gottschalk, Günter Mayer and Alexander Heckel. 2012. Light-controlled tools. Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 52, DOI 10.1002/anie.201202134.