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QBE Seminar Series – Dr. Yamuna Phal

January 24 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Harnessing and Shaping Mid-Infrared Light for Biosensing

The mid-infrared (mid-IR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, also known as the molecular fingerprint region, has
long been a focus of scientific and technological research. Mid-IR microscopy is a non-destructive tool that can measure
the molecular content of biological samples by probing fundamental vibrational modes, with potential applications in
early disease detection and diagnosis. However, limitations such as long acquisition times, limited spatial detail, and a
lack of understanding of light -matter interactions have impeded progress in this field. In this talk, I will present advanced
mid-IR spectroscopic imaging platforms that address these challenges to improve perceived spatial resolution and
enabling label-free classification of surgical tissue sections within minutes. Additionally, I will discuss the development of
technology for imaging site-specific chirality of molecules, including the specific challenges and roadblocks to creating a
viable and accurate system. The focus of this talk is on using theory and modeling to guide the development of
measurement systems and open new opportunities for understanding biomolecules.

Yamuna Phal is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to joining UIUC, she worked as an analog research engineer at Finisar (acquired by II-VI
Inc.) and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. Yamuna received a B.Tech. from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
(IIT-R) and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from California Institute of Technology (Caltech).While at Caltech, she was
awarded the prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Fellowship. Yamuna’s research interests revolve around
developing novel optical technologies for biomedical and space applications. Her research has earned her recognition
through various scientific awards and publications, including a patent for VCD imaging. Her work has been featured on
the covers of Analytical Chemistry and the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.


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