The connection between photoluminescence (PL) intermittency and excited-state kinetics is explored for 2′,7′-dichlorofluorecin (DCF) isolated in crystals of potassium acid phthalate (KAP) using time-tagged, time-resolved, time-correlated single-photon counting (T3R-TCSPC). In this technique, PL intermittency or "blinking" is measured in conjunction with the time of photon arrival relative to photoexcitation, allowing for the correlation of emissive intensities and excited-state decay kinetics of single molecules. The blinking trace is parsed into emissive and nonemissive segments using change-point-detection analysis, and the duration of these segments are used to quantify PL intermittency. The results presented here demonstrate that two populations of DCF exist in KAP, with one population demonstrating single-exponential excited state decay over the course of the blinking trace, and the other demonstrating stretched-exponential decay. Molecules demonstrating single-exponential decay also demonstrate modest intensity variation in the blinking trace. Correlation of the emission intensity and excited-state lifetimes demonstrates that for these molecules spectral diffusion is largely responsible for the evolution in emission intensity. In contrast, molecules demonstrating nonexponential excited-state decay vary in emission intensity. Correlation of the emissive intensities with the excited-state lifetimes demonstrates that these molecules undergo changes in both radiative and nonradiative decay rate constants as well as spectral diffusion. These observations suggest that DCF exists in two environments in KAP differentiated by the propensity for proton-transfer with the surrounding KAP matrix. The results presented here provide further insight into the origin of PL intermittency demonstrated by DCF in KAP and related systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry