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Jennifer Dionne harnesses light to illuminate nano landscapes

Tiny particles could light the way to improved cancer tests or drugs with fewer side effects

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1:52pm, October 4, 2017
Jennifer Dionne

LEADING LIGHT  Materials scientist Jennifer Dionne melds purpose and play in her work with matter and light.

Jennifer Dionne, 35
Materials scientist
Stanford University

To choose her research goals, Jennifer Dionne envisions conversations with hypothetical grandchildren, 50 years down the line. What would she want to tell them she had accomplished? Then, to chart a path to that future, “I work backward to figure out what are the milestones en route,” she says.

That long-term vision has led the 35-year-old materials scientist on a quest to wrangle light and convince it to do her bidding in interactions with nanoparticles and various materials. Already, Dionne has created new nanomaterials that steer light in ways that are impossible with natural substances. Her new projects could eventually lead to light-based technologies used to

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