Multiphoton ligand-enhanced excitation of lanthanides

Grzegorz Piszczek, Badri P. Maliwal, Ignacy Gryczynski, Jonathan Dattelbaum, Joseph R. Lakowicz

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We describe multiphoton excitation of the lanthanides europium (Eu 3+) and terbium (Tb 3+) when these ions are complexed with nucleic acids, proteins, and fluorescent chelators. In all cases excitation occurs by multiphoton absorption of the sensitizers. For the nucleotide GDP and an oligonucleotide with several guanines, the sensitized emission of Tb 3+ excited at 776 nm indicated a three-photon process. For Tb 3+ bound to the wild-type troponin C and a single tryptophan mutant (26W), excitation at 794 nm was also close to a three-photon process. For lanthanide chelators containing various sensitizers, we observed three-photon excitation in the case of methyl anthranilate, a mixuture of two- and three-photon excitation for carbostyril 124, and a two-photon process with a coumarin derivative. In the case of coumarin-sensitized emission of Eu 3+ varied from a two- to a three-photon process at wavelengths ranging from 780 to 880 nm. The sensitized luminescence also shows significantly higher photostability compared to the fluorescence from the organic fluorophores alone. These results suggest the use of multiphoton-induced sensitized lanthanide fluorescence in biochemistry and cellular imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Fluorescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001


  • Europium
  • Lanthanides
  • Ligands
  • Multiphoton excitation
  • Sensitizers, photostability
  • Terbium


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