Research in the Schultz lab focuses on understanding how the spatial organization of molecules affects their behavior. We utilize laser spectroscopy, including nonlinear spectroscopic methods, and also spectroscopic imaging modalities such as Raman near-field scanning optical microscopy, which is capable of vibrational spectroscopic imaging with a spatial resolution of tens of nanometers.
One area where molecular organization plays an important role is the behavior observed in cellular membranes. We are interested in understanding how the organization of molecules in biomembranes impact biomedical issues such as dysfunctional cellular pathways that cause disease, viral and bacterial infection, and drug delivery. These interactions occur at the nanometer length scale, necessitating the development of new methods.
A second area involves understanding how spatial chemical heterogeneity affects material properties. We are developing plasmonic arrays to facilitate high sensitivity, nanoscale spectroscopic imaging and detection of thin film and interfacial materials. Phase separation into domains can be explored by combining our plasmonic arrays and nanoscale imaging methodology.