Subject Area



Chemical manipulation with light has been an active and growing area of research with important implications in materials science, biotechnology, and environmental science. From early investigations of light sensitive materials for photography in the 19th century, to printing billions of transistors on a semiconductor chip in present day, scientists have gained a deep understanding of photochemistry and the processes that allow us to harness light for everyday applications. In this work, we explore microscale fabrication and molecular imaging using light and photoactive molecules as foundational tools. We develop a visible-light mediated technique for high resolution microscale chemical lithography comprising of a home-built digital light processing fluorescence microscope, optimized photochemical reactions, and light responsive molecules. We leverage the ability to control, structure, and build with visible light at a microscale to fabricate self-propelling catalytic micromotors based on existing and novel catalytic systems, and characterize their performance. To further the horizons of light-mediated chemistries to cutting-edge single molecular resolutions, we introduce chemical systems with paired fluorescence and reactivity, which in conjunction with super resolution imaging will allow for chemical lithography with unprecedented specificity. Finally, we design and apply near-infrared light emitting molecular systems for chemiluminescent imaging from within biological tissue, furthering advancement of non-invasive methods for molecular biosensing and quantification. Altogether, these works demonstrate the versatility and growing applications of visible light for microscopic chemical manipulation and imaging when combined with tailored photoactive molecules.

Degree Date

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name





Alexander R. Lippert

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License