Artist’s Dye Fading Part 1: Jun 1st – Jun 16th

Before I actually started conducting scientific research I had an idea of what it would be like. I assumed that because science is inherently a logical, structured field that research would follow a set path with defined end goals and checkpoints. However after a very interesting summer so far I have come to realize that the actual conducting of research is very much organic. While it is necessary to have a set end goal, the path to achieve it can change rapidly and give rise to new areas of interest.

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Single Molecule Investigation of Dye Fading in Anthroquinone Dyes

This summer I will be working in the Wustholz lab doing research on Antrhoquinone dye pigments using single molecule spectroscopy. These dye pigments are common in various historical artworks; including some that are part of the Colonial Williamsburg Collection. The problem with these pigments is that they tend to fade over time– destroying the painting. This study seeks to probe the photo physics of individual, isolated molecules using a technique known as single molecule spectroscopy in order to understand the mechanism by which these dyes fade which will ultimately allow us to better preserve priceless works of art. While studies have been done on these molecules before, they have not investigated the behavior of individual molecules in isolation which is crucial to determining the actual mechanism of the fading. So far single molecule data has been collected on all of the relevant anthroquinone dyes and all that is left is to correlate the data to functions and a physical theoretical mechanism.