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  1. We study coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy in air-filled anti-resonance hollow-core photonic crystal fiber, otherwise known as “revolver” fiber. We compare the vibrational coherent anti-Stokes Raman signal of N 2 , at ∼2331 cm −1 , generated in ambient air (no fiber present), with the one generated in a 2.96 cm of a revolver fiber. We show a ∼170 times enhancement for the signal produced in the fiber, due to an increased interaction path. Remarkably, the N 2 signal obtained in the revolver fiber shows near-zero non-resonant background, due to near-zero overlap between the laser field and the fiber cladding. Through our study, we find that the revolver fiber properties make it an ideal candidate for the coherent Raman spectroscopy signal enhancement. 
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  2. Fungal melanins represent a resource for important breakthroughs in industry and medicine, but the characterization of their composition, synthesis, and structure is not well understood. Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool for the elucidation of molecular composition and structure. In this work, we characterize the Raman spectra of wild-type Aspergillus fumigatus and Cryptococcus neoformans and their melanin biosynthetic mutants and provide a rough “map” of the DHN (A. fumigatus) and DOPA (C. neoformans) melanin biosynthetic pathways. We compare this map to the Raman spectral data of Aspergillus nidulans wild-type and melanin biosynthetic mutants obtained from a previous study. We find that the fully polymerized A. nidulans melanin cannot be classified according to the DOPA pathway; nor can it be solely classified according to the DHN pathway, consistent with mutational analysis and chemical inhibition studies. Our approach points the way forward for an increased understanding of, and methodology for, investigating fungal melanins. 
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  4. Monitoring and controlling the neutral and charged excitons (trions) in two-dimensional (2D) materials are essential for the development of high-performance devices. However, nanoscale control is challenging because of diffraction-limited spatial resolution of conventional far-field techniques. Here, we extend the classical tip-enhanced photoluminescence based on tip-substrate nanocavity to quantum regime and demonstrate controlled nano-optical imaging, namely, tip-enhanced quantum plasmonics. In addition to improving the spatial resolution, we use the scanning probe to control the optoelectronic response of monolayer WS 2 by varying the neutral/charged exciton ratio via charge tunneling in Au-Ag picocavity. We observe trion “hot spots” generated by varying the picometer-scale probe-sample distance and show the effects of weak and strong coupling, which depend on the spatial location. Our experimental results are in agreement with simulations and open an unprecedented view of a new range of quantum plasmonic phenomena with 2D materials that will help to design new quantum optoelectronic devices. 
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    Abstract Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, told NBC News on “Meet the Press” that “[T]he U.S. needs a ‘breakthrough’ in coronavirus testing to help screen Americans and get a more accurate picture of the virus’ spread.” We have been involved with biopathogen detection since the 2001 anthrax attacks and were the first to detect anthrax in real-time. A variation on the laser spectroscopic techniques we developed for the rapid detection of anthrax can be applied to detect the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2 virus). In addition to detecting a single virus, this technique allows us to read its surface protein structure. In particular, we have been conducting research based on a variety of quantum optical approaches aimed at improving our ability to detect Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) viral infection. Indeed, the detection of a small concentration of antibodies, after an infection has passed, is a challenging problem. Likewise, the early detection of disease, even before a detectible antibody population has been established, is very important. Our team is researching both aspects of this problem. The paper is written to stimulate the interest of both physical and biological scientists in this important problem. It is thus written as a combination of tutorial (review) and future work (preview). We join Prof. Federico Capasso and Editor Dennis Couwenberg in expressing our appreciation to all those working so heroically on all aspects of the COVID-19 problem. And we thank Drs. Capasso and Couwenberg for their invitation to write this paper. 
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