Research Overview

Research projects in the Higgins labs are centered around the use of novel existing and emerging optical microscopic methods to probe the structure and dynamics of mesostructured materials.  Single molecule detection and spectroscopy, along with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy are presently the most extensively used methods in the group, but we also make use of near-field scanning optical microscopy and multiphoton-excited fluorescence microscopy.  We are currently investigating the structure and organization of lyotropic liquid crystal mesophases; the structure, organization and mass transport characteristics of mesoporous silica materials and the nanoscale properties of organically-modified silica thin film gradients.  We also have projects investigating the electric-field-induced dynamics of ds-DNA at carbon electrode surfaces and we are interested in understanding the blinking dynamics of CdSe nanorods dispersed in semiconducting organic polymer films.