Rational Design of Bright Long Fluorescence Lifetime Dyad Fluorophores for Single Molecule Imaging and Detection

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Increasing demand for detecting single molecules in challenging environments has raised the bar for the fluorophores used. To achieve better resolution and/or contrast in fluorescence microscopy, it is now essential to use bright and stable dyes with tailored photophysical properties. While long fluorescence lifetime fluorophores offer many advantages in time-resolved imaging, their inherently lower molar absorption coefficient has limited applications in single molecule imaging. Here we propose a generic approach to prepare bright, long fluorescence lifetime dyad fluorophores comprising an absorbing antenna chromophore with high absorption coefficient linked to an acceptor emitter with a long fluorescence lifetime. We introduce a dyad consisting of a perylene antenna and a triangulenium emitter with 100% energy transfer from donor to acceptor. The dyad retained the long fluorescence lifetime (∼17 ns) and high quantum yield (75%) of the triangulenium emitter, while the perylene antenna increased the molar absorption coefficient (up to 5 times) in comparison to the free triangulenium dye. These triangulenium based dyads with significantly improved brightness can now be detected at the single molecule level and easily discriminated from bright autofluorescence by time-gated and other lifetime-based detection schemes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1377-1385
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021

ID: 259515406