Effects of light quenching on the emission spectra and intensity decays of fluorophore mixtures

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We examined a series of fluorophore mixtures to determine the wavelength selectivity of light quenching and the effects of light quenching on the emission spectra and intensity decays. Light quenching can be accomplished using a single excitation pulse train and quenching wavelength (one-beam) or with longer-wavelength quenching pulses time-delayed relative to the excitation pulses (two-beam). Both one-beam and two-beam light quenching were found to alter the intensity decays of the mixtures. The frequency-domain intensity decay data were analyzed to reveal the fractional intensity of each fluorophore in the mixture and the effects of light quenching on the fractional contribution of each fluorophore to the total intensity. Fluorophores were selected to provide a range of decay times and emission wavelengths. The extent of quenching in the mixtures was dependent on which fluorophore had the higher radiative decay rate and emission intensity at the quenching wavelength. A general theory is presented which describes the intensity decays in terms of the extent of quenching of each fluorophore and the time delay between excitation and quenching pulses. The effects of light quenching on the fractional intensities of each fluorophore in the mixture, recovered from the intensity decay analysis, were found to be in quantitative agreement with that predicted from steady-state measurements of light quenching and from the spectral properties of the fluorophores. The data on light quenching of mixtures demonstrate that light quenching may be used for selective quenching of fluorophores and thus of potential value for studies of multichromophoric systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-183
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Fluorescence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997



  • Emission spectra
  • Fluorophore mixtures
  • Intensity decays
  • Light quenching

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