City of Wilmington, Delaware

WITN Channel 22 Wilmington, Delaware

Search WITN22


August 6, 2021

DOVER, Del. – A University physics professor has been awarded a $394,607 Department of Defense research grant that will support the establishment of a state-of-the-art Photochemical and Photophysics Laboratory at Delaware State University.

Dr. Aristides Marcano, Professor of Physics, is the primary investigator and recipient of the grant. The resulting lab’s primary purpose is to conduct research and train new generations of scientists in the detection and generation of singlet oxygen – an electronically excited level of the molecule of oxygen.

Singlet oxygen plays a crucial role in photochemical reactions that regulate the processes of life and death in living systems. It has been identified as the main factor in the combat of pathogens, viruses, bacteria, or any kind of microparasites that invade a healthy organism. Singlet oxygen also plays a significant role in photodynamic therapy for the destruction of cancer tumors or damaged cell.

Despite its current applications, the ways of photogeneration of singlet oxygen are not fully understood. The Del State research in this new lab will test different hypotheses of the generation of singlet oxygen from oxygen dissolved in water. It is expected that a better understanding of how light generates singlet oxygen in natural waters will lead to the creation of more efficient systems for the control and destruction  of viruses, as well as improve the disinfection of food, blood and pharmaceutical products.

The new Photochemical-Photophysical Lab facility addition to the University’s existing research infrastructure will positively impact Del State research programs in agriculture, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, human ecology, mathematics, and physics. It will also promote studies in photophysics, photochemistry, photobiology and photomedicine as cross-disciplinary programs.

Undergraduate and graduate science students will receive training in this lab.