Steven Chu

Director, LBNL
Professor - Atomic Physics, Biological Physics, Polymer Physics

Research Interests

Atomic Physics:

We are continuing to develop new methods of laser cooling and trapping and to apply those methods in a variety of problems. Examples of applications include the use of an atom interferometer to measure the fine structure constant to unprecedented accuracy, the use Bose condensates in optical lattices to study many body effects related to condensed matter systems.

Biological Physics:

We apply single molecule techniques such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer, atomic force microscopy and optical tweezers, we study enzyme activity, and protein and RNA folding at the single bio-molecule level. Systems being studied include how the ribosome reads m-RNA and manufactures proteins, how vesicles fuse into the cell wall at the synapse of neurons, how cells adhere to each other via adhesive molecules, and how RNA molecules fold into active enzymes.

Polymer physics:

We study polymer dynamics and phase transitions associated with these dynamics using individual molecules of DNA as model polymers.

Selected Publications

A. Peters, K. Y. Chung, and S. Chu, “High-precision Gravity Measurements Using Atom Interferometry,” Metrologia 38, 25 (2001).

P. Treutlein, K. Y. Chung, and S. Chu, “High-brightness Atom Source for Atomic Fountains,” Phys. Rev. A 63, 051401 (2001).

L.E. Bartley, X.W. Zhuang, R. Das, S. Chu, Herschlag, “Exploration of the transition state for tertiary structure formation between an RNA helix and a large structured RNA,” D Source: Journal of Molecular Biology, 328, no.5, p.1011-1026 (May 16, 2003).

J.M. Johnson, T. Ha, S. Chu, Boxer, “Early steps of supported bilayer formation probed by single vesicle fluorescence assays,” SG Source: Biophysical Journal, 83, no.6, p.3371-3379 (Dec. 2002).

C. M. Schroeder, H. P. Babcock, E. S.G. Shaqfeh, S. Chu, “Observation of polymer conformation hysteresis in extensional flow,” Science 301, 1515-1519 (2003).

K. Weninger, M. E. Bowen, S. Chu, Brunger, “Single-molecule studies of SNARE complex assembly reveal parallel and antiparallel configurations,” AT Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100, no.25, p.14800-14805 (Dec. 9, 2003).

R. E. Teixeira, H. P. Babcock, E. S. G. Shaqfeh and S. Chu, “Shear Thinning and Tumbling Dynamics of Single Polymers,” in preparation (2004).

C. M. Schroeder, E. S. G. Shaqfeh, and S. Chu, "The Effect of Hydrodynamic Interactions on DNA Dynamics in Extensional Flow: Simulation and Single Molecule Experiment," in preparation (2004).

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