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Marcos Dantus


Title: Professor, Physical, Adjunct Professor (Physics)

Webpage: Research Group

Area(s): Analytical  Biological  Chemical Physics  Physical 

Contact: 58 CEM / 355-9715 x314


(Research Description PDF - 1620 kb)

Ultrashort laser pulses are considered photonic reagents that can be used to study and control chemistry by our group. We are engaged in developing the laser technology as well as the novel applications that become available in areas such as biomedical imaging, molecular detection and identification and proteomic analysis. Our group has six state-of-the-art femtosecond laser systems with MIIPS pulse shaping technology available for our projects.

Some of our challenging projects include:

  • Development of multidimensional spectroscopic methods for standoff identification of chemicals in solid, liquid and gaseous states;
  • Exploring novel biomedical applications of nonlinear photonic control for selective two-photon microscopy and imaging through tissue;
  • Exploring the behavior of molecules under intense laser fields;
  • Development of fiber laser technology coupled to automated phase optimization for biomedical applications;
  • Development of femtosecond laser induced dissociation for proteomic and metabolomic analysis.
These images illustrate the use
of ultrashort (~10 fs) shaped
pulses in two-photon microscopy.
Selective excitation of subcellular
structures such as actin (blue)
and mitochondria (green) in HeLa
(human cervical cancer) cells is
illustrated in the top two images,
obtained without fluorescence filters.
The bottom figure is a combination
of the top two images.

Ultrafast Lasers and Imaging. The laser pulses in our laboratory are short enough to “freeze” the motion of atoms and allow us to see chemical reactions as they take place. Using a pulse shaper, we are able to tailor the phase of the individual wavelength components. These shaped pulses can be used to control the quantum-mechanical aspects of laser-molecule interactions. For example, we can control which molecules absorb energy and which do not, an aspect we have used to achieve selective two-photon microscopy.

Our group has a number of inter-disciplinary interests (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, and Engineering) that lead to collaborations with other universities, agencies, and companies. The teamwork we practice leads to a high level of productivity, shared responsibility and success. You can expect to be involved in the preparation of several manuscripts. The creativity and forward-thinking that we encourage has led to 7 issued patents and 29 patent applications. We are constantly pushing the boundaries of new technology and ideas. All research ideas are welcomed and pursued, as we have ongoing work that ranges from fundamental science to applications.

One of the more challenging real world problems is the remote identification of hazardous molecules. Here, we couple the multidimensionality of femtosecond pulse shaping with CARS (Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering) spectroscopy to develop a fast and reliable laser-based method for remote detection of explosive materials


Generation of 42-fs and 10-nJ pulses from a fiber laser with self-similar evolution in the gain segment, B. Nie, D. Pestov, F. W. Wise, and M. Dantus, Optics Express 2011, 19, 12074.

Group-velocity-dispersion measurements of atmospheric and combustion-related gases using an ultrabroadband-laser source, P. Wrzesinski, D. Pestov, V. V. Lozovoy, J. R. Gord, M. Dantus, and S. Roy, Optics Express 2011, 19, 5163-5170.

Binary phase shaping for selective single-beam CARS spectroscopy and imaging of gas-phase molecules, P. Wrzesinski, D. Pestov, V. V. Lozovoy, B. Xu, S. Roy, J. R. Gord, and M. Dantus, J. Raman Spec. 2011, 42, 393-398.

Applications of Femtochemistry to Proteomic and Metabolomic Analysis, X. Zhu, C. Kalcic, N. Winkler, V. V. Lozovoy, and M. Dantus, J. Phys. Chem. A 2010, 114, 10380–10387.

Photobleaching and photoenhancement of endogenous fluorescence observed in two-photon microscopy with broadband laser sources, D. Pestov, Y. Andegeko, V. V. Lozovoy and M. Dantus, J. Opt. 2010, 12, 084006.

Femtosecond laser-induced ionization/dissociation of protonated peptides, C. L. Kalcic, T. C. Gunaratne, A. D. Jones, M. Dantus, and G. E. Reid, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 940-942.

Two-photon imaging using adaptive phase compensated ultrashort laser pulses, P. Xi, Y. Andegeko, D. Pestov, V. V. Lozovoy and M. Dantus, J. Biomed. Optics 2009, 14, 014002-014008.

Adjunct Professor of Physics

B.A. & M.A., 1985, Brandeis Univ.

Ph.D., 1991, California Institute of Technology

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 1991-1993, California Institute of Technology.

Award Organization Division Level Code Type Code Start Date End Date
MSU Innovator of the Year award Professional Honors 2013
Science and Technology Awards from Corp! magazine Biophotonic Solutions Professional Professional Activities 2010 2010
Distinguished Faculty Award Professional Honors 2008
Featured in article ACS 125th Anniversary Issue of Chemical and Engineering News Professional Honors 2001
Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Professional Fellowship 1998
Teacher-Scholar Award Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Professional Honors 1998
Eli Lilly Teaching Fellowship Michigan State University Professional Fellowship 1996
Beckman Young Investigator Award Beckman Foundation Professional Honors 1995
Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Professional Fellowship 1995
General Electric Foundation Faculty Award General Electric Professional Honors 1994
New Faculty Award Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Professional Honors 1993
Nobel Laureate Signature award for Graduate Education in Chemistry American Chemical Society Professional Honors 1992
Postdoctoral Research Fellow California Institute of Technology Postdoctoral Fellowship 1991 1993
The Herbert Newby McCoy Award California Institute of Technology Graduate Honors 1991
Ph.D. California Institute of Technology Graduate Degree 1991
Milton and Francis Clauser Doctoral Prize California Institute of Technology Graduate Honors 1991
Melvin M. Snider Prize in Chemistry Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Undergraduate Honors 1985
Bachelor of Arts Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Undergraduate Degree 1985
Earl C. Anthony Fellowship California Institute of Technology Graduate Fellowship 1985
Phi Beta Kappa Phi Beta Kappa Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Undergraduate Honors 1985
Bachelor of Arts Magna Cum Laude Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Undergraduate Degree 1985
M.A. Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Graduate Degree 1985
Date Content

Professor Dantus has earned a national honor for being a leader of innovation and invention.


'Polyatomic Molecules under Intense Femtosecond Laser Irradiation' has been highlighted in the current issue of J Phys Chem A. It is a collaborative effort between the Dantus Group, Prof Levine and Prof Jackson. 


Professor Dantus has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society "for contributions to the development of pulse shaping and coherent control techniques for femtosecond electronic spectroscopy microscopy and remote sensing of molecules."


Arkaprabha Konar, from the Dantus group, has received the Alfred J. and Ruth Zeits Endowed Fellowship.


Professor Marcos Dantus has been named a Fellow Member of the The Optical Society of America.


Professor Dantus group's recent development of femtosecond laser technology that can be used to detect the presence of explosives by selective stimulated Raman scattering.  To see the video, click here.  The Applied Physics Letters paper that describes the chemistry is here.


Professor Marcos Dantus has invented a bomb-detecting laser that can be used at airport security checkpoints.  To read more, click here.


Professor Marcos Dantus has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the MSU Innovator of the Year award from the MSU Innovation Center for his work on ultrashort phase lasers.  This award recognizes an MSU researcher who has been actively involved in intellectual property creation and technology transfer activities at MSU.  All MSU researchers, faculty members, staff, or research group are eligible to receive the award, provided they are actively involved in technology transfer activities as illustrated by two or more of the following: (1) The inventor must have filed an invention disclosure with MSU Technologies in multiple years. (2) The inventor must have intellectual property protection filed for the inventions or have received patents for the work. (3) The inventor must have intellectual property protection filed for the inventions or have received patents for the work. and/or (4)The inventor must have successfully received MIIE, TSGTD, or similar grant funding to continue their research.  Furthermore, the inventor must also be an advocate for MSU Technologies and technology transfer within the university community.


Professor Marcos Dantus' research team has developed a laser that could detect roadside bombs.  


Two companies that originated from Intellectual property created by Department faculty have won 2010 Science and Technology Awards from Corp! magazine.  They are Draths Corporation which is based on the biocatalysis research of John and Karen Frost, and Biophotonic Solutions which was founded by Marco Dantus for marketing technology that grew from his research into ultrafast optical phenomena.  The awards were presented at a ceremony held in Troy, MI on April 20.


Chemistry faculty members Marcos Dantus, James McCusker, Dana Spence and Greg Swain have received Stimulus Grants for their research.  To read more, click here.


The Jan. 19th, 2009 issue of C&E news contains a 'Science and Technology Concentrates' article highlighting some recent work by graduate student Christine Kalcic and co-authors Dr. Tissa Gunaratne, Professor Dan Jones, Professor Marcos Dantus and Assistant Professor Gavin Reid, entitled 'Femtosecond Laser-induced Ionization/Dissociation of Protonated Peptides', to be published as a communication in J. Am. Chem. Soc.


Marcos Dantus has been awarded the 2008 Distinguished Faculty Award.


Christine Kalcic (Dantus Group) has received a 2007 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF-GRF) Award under the Analytical Chemistry field of study.


Marcos Dantus with Co-PIs Gavin Reid and Dan Jones received $1.4M, one of the 61 awards from the State of Michigan 2006 21st Century Jobs Fund for development of commercial products from laser and mass spectroscopy technology. The title of their proposal was "Application of laser-based molecular scalpel technology for proteomic and metabolomic analysis." This technology analyzes for chemical compounds in biological samples. For more information read the September 6, 2006 Lansing State Journal article.


Warren Beck, Marcos Dantus, Michael Feig, John Frost, Jim Geiger, Ned Jackson, Rob Maleczka, Jim McCusker, Aaron Odom, Piotr Piecuch, Tom Pinnavaia, Greg Swain, and Bill Wulff received new grants during Fall 2005.