Emission spectra of chlorophyll-a in polar and nonpolar solvents

S. B. Broyde, S. S. Brody

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Emission spectra of chlorophyll-a, dissolved in ethanol and various nonpolar solvents, were measured at 300°, 77°, and 4°K, in both dilute and concentrated solutions. For this purpose, a new technique utilizing fiber optics was employed. In dilute ethanolic solutions, the observed fluorescence bands emanate from chlorophyll-a monomers, solvated at the central magnesium. At 4°K the fluorescence yield in this solvent is 0.85. In highly concentrated ethanolic solutions, a low-temperature band occurs at about 724 nm, which may be attributed to solvated dimers, formed by a π-π interaction between the chlorophyll monomers. In nonpolar solvents, a low-temperature luminescence band is observed at about 755 nm. This emission is attributed to π-π* phosphorescence from unsolvated monomers. Also in nonpolar solvents, highly concentrated solutions have a weak band in the neighborhood of 733 nm at 77°K, which originates from chlorophyll dimers formed by interaction between the magnesium of one monomer with the cyclopentanone carbonyl of another. The 733-nm band is either π-π* phosphorescence or fluorescence. In CCl4 and benzene the dimers are believed to be unsolvated. At room temperature unsolvated dimers fluoresce feebly at 713 nm. Cooling dilute solutions of chlorophyll a in benzene and 1,2-dichloroethane causes dimer formation, but this is less in CCl4 and absent in ethanol. A calculation of the upper limit for the rate constant for intersystem crossing to the triplet state, in ethanol, gives a value of 9.0×10 6/sec.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3334-3340
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1967

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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