Shining light on the antenna chromophore in lanthanide based dyes†
Lanthanide based dyes and assays exploit the antenna effect, where a sensitiser-chromophore is used as a light harvesting antenna and subsequent excited state energy transfer populates the emitting lanthanide centred excited state. A rudimentary understanding of the design criteria for designing efficient dyes and assays based on the antenna effect is in place. By preparing kinetically inert lanthanide complexes based on the DO3A scaffold, we are able to study the excited state energy transfer from a 7-methoxy-coumarin antenna chromophore to europium(III) and terbium(III) centred excited states. By contrasting the photophysical properties of complexes of metal centres with and without accessible excited states, we are able to separate the contributions from the heavy atom effect, photoinduced electron transfer quenching, excited state energy transfer and molecular conformations. Furthermore, by studying the photophysical properties of the antenna chromophore, we can directly monitor the solution structure and are able to conclude that excited state energy transfer from the chromophore singlet state to the lanthanide centre does occur.
- This article is part of the themed collection: In memory of Paul O’Brien