DNA is arguably the most important molecule for life on Earth. Of particular interest are the mechanisms by which DNA and RNA interact with other molecules. Dr. Lee is using the vibrational spectroscopies of Raman scattering and infrared absorption to study the microscopic interaction between DNA and water as well as other ligand molecules. Vibrational spectroscopy provides a probe of the strength of such interactions in addition to information about possible changes in the geometry of DNA caused by the ligand binding. This information is crucial in understanding the exact mechanism by which different drugs fight cancer as well as the biologically important processes of replication and transcription.
High Pressure diamond anvil cell permit one to explore new phases of matter and to test the validity of many-body theories over a wide range of lattice spacing. His current work involves several areas of interest: pressure- induced amorphization, semiconductor heterostructures, incommensurates and ferroelectrics. Of particular interest in the lab are materials which undergo reversible crystalline-to-amorphous transitions. Dr. Lee's work in semiconductor heterostructures deals with determining the exact alignments of the conduction and valence bands of the different layers as well as their deformation potentials.