|Understanding Light and Life Interactions|
The Light & Life Laboratory of the Department of Physics & Engineering Physics is primarily interested in the interactions of light with living organisms in our environment and in using light as a diagnostic and predictive tool for studying our environment. The release of man-made trace gases and the burning of fossil fuels pose a potential threat in terms of ozone depletion and increased exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation as well as a warmer climate. A proper understanding of light and life interactions is a prerequisite for finding mitigation methods.
The ozone layer forms a thin shield in the upper atmosphere, protecting life on Earth from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Ozone is a naturally occurring gas that is found in two layers of the atmosphere. In the layer surrounding the Earth's surface the troposphere ground-level or bad ozone is an air pollutant that is a key ingredient of urban smog. The troposphere extends up to the stratosphere, which is where good ozone protects life on Earth by absorbing some of the sun's UV rays.