Interdisciplinary research in the Vollmer lab is cutting-edge. We explore biophysics and biochemistry at the very limits of what humans are capable of investigating. We develop Nano and Quantum Sensors to explore Nature’s smallest entities such as single molecules, single photons, pico-Newton forces, molecular chirality, and their interesting physics and applications. We pioneer techniques to detect and visualise processes at the nanoscale in a specific and sensitive manner, down to the level of single atomic ions.

Our sensors and spectrometers have important applications in health, nanotechnology, metrology, environment, biology, defence & security, and astronomy. We develop chip-scale single-molecule laboratories for clinical diagnostic that provide maximum information by analysing a biological sample molecule-by-molecule.

I am pursuing a multi-disciplinary research initiative in Molecular, Nano- and Quantum Sensors and Systems that is unique in the UK (and the world) and that brings together the research streams of nanophotonics, nanoplasmonics, quantum optics, molecular mechanics (molecular machines, synthetic bio) and in the future, also molecular electronics and neuroscience. This new pan-disciplinary area, I believe, will be a very large and upcoming research playground at the cross-roads of cutting edge experimental and theoretical sciences; there will be applications in health, nanotechnology, metrology, environment, security, and astronomy; it touches on core subjects in physics, quantum optics, optics, biophysics, engineering, molecular mechanics and biochemistry.

Prof Frank Vollmer

University of Exeter, Living Systems Institute

Exeter EX4 4QD, United Kingdom

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