Scholes is an expert on electronic energy transfer and molecular excitons. Current research in the Scholes Group concerns design principles and paradigms for directing and regulating light-initiated energy flow in man-made and natural systems, like proteins involved in photosynthesis. A goal is to learn new ways to harness the power of light in chemistry. The Scholes Group combines ultrafast laser spectroscopies—methods such as 2D electronic spectroscopy—with theoretical studies to understand mechanisms of light harvesting, electron transfer, and other photo-initiated processes.
In 2010 we reported that fragile quantum mechanical processes are detected even at physiological temperature in the primary light-harvesting proteins of algae. This work has helped to inspire new research in areas ranging from theoretical quantum physics to chemical dynamics to biology and has been highlighted in magazines including New Scientist (2010, 2011), Wired (2010, 2011), Scientific American (2009, 2010), Science News (2010, 2011), Nature (2011), Focus (2012), Cosmos (2014); national radio (e.g. CBC Quirks and Quarks and BBC Science in Action); and television documentaries such as Invisible Nature (Discovery Channel). Recent work includes development of more revealing metrics for exciton size (delocalization) and several experimental studies of vibrational wavepackets; how they can be characterized, and what they can tell us about electronically coupled molecules and dynamics. This is helping us to elucidate a clearer physical understanding of ‘coherence’ in ultrafast dynamics. A vision underpinning much of our work is to develop experiments that reveal insights into mechanisms and provide strong tests of theoretical models.
- Masuhara Lectureship Award, Asian Photochemical Conference 2016
- Beijing Institute of Technology Adjunct Professor, China 2016-
- Honorary Professor at Central South University, China 2017-
- Swiss Chemical Society Lectureship 2016
- Senior Fellow, CIFAR Biology, Energy, Technology Program 2015-
- Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry (United Kingdom)
- NSERC John C. Polanyi Award 2013
- Royal Society of Chemistry Bourke Award 2012
- The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Physical Sciences (Tel Aviv University) 2011
- Royal Society of Canada Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry, 2007
- Chemical Institute of Canada Keith Laidler award, 2006
- Research Innovation Award (Research Corporation) 2002
- Premier’s Research Excellence Award 2000
Selected Service Activities:
- Committee of Visitors for the Department of Energy EFRC/Hubs 2016
- Panel for Qualitative evaluation of completed projects, European Research Council 2016
- Deputy Chair of the Consolidator Grants panel PE4, European Research Council 2016
- Chair of of BES CSGB Council Workshop Optimal Coherence in Chemical and Biophysical Dynamics
- American Physical Society Focus Symposium Organizer for March Meeting 2017
- Member of the DOE Council for the Chemical and Biochemical Sciences 2015-2017
- Advisory Board Member for the DOE EFRC Center for Excitonics at MIT 2015-2018
- Member of evaluation panel for evaluation of completed ERC-funded projects 2015
- Member of the Consolidator Grants panel PE4, European Research Council 2014,2016
- Committee of Visitors for the Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences, Department of Energy 2014
Selected Significant Research Publications:
Gregory D. Scholes, Graham R. Fleming, Alexandra Olaya-Castro and Rienk van Grondelle, “Lessons from nature about solar light harvesting” Nature Chem. 3, 763–774 (2011).
Gregory D. Scholes & Garry Rumbles, “Excitons in Nanoscale Systems” Nature Materials 5, 683–696 (2006). Invited Review.
Elisabetta Collini & Gregory D. Scholes, “Quantum coherent energy migration in a conjugated polymer at room temperature” Science 323, 369-373 (2009).
Elisabetta Collini, Cathy Y. Wong, Krystyna E. Wilk, Paul M. G. Curmi, Paul Brumer, and Gregory D. Scholes, “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature” Nature 463, 644–648 (2010).
Evgeny E. Ostroumov, Rachel M. Mulvaney, Richard J. Cogdell, Gregory D. Scholes “Broadband 2D Electronic Spectroscopy Reveals a Carotenoid Dark State in Purple Bacteria” Science 340, 52–56 (2013).
Gregory D. Scholes, “Long range resonance energy transfer in molecular systems,” Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 54, 57–87 (2003).
Tihana Mirkovic, Evgeny E. Ostroumov, Jessica M. Anna, Rienk van Grondelle, Govindjee and Gregory D. Scholes “Light Absorption and Energy Transfer in the Antenna Complexes of Photosynthetic Organisms” Chem. Rev. 117, 249−293 (2017).
Jacob C. Dean, Tihana Mirkovic, Zi S. D. Toa, Daniel Oblinsky & Gregory D. Scholes “Vibronic Enhancement of Algae Light Harvesting” Chem (Cell Press) 1, 858–872 (2016).
Jean-Luc Brédas, Edward H. Sargent & Gregory D. Scholes “Coherent Solar Energy Conversion” Nature Mater. 16, 35–44 (2017).