Photophysical properties of 2-Phenylindole in poly (vinyl alcohol) film at room temperature. Enhanced phosphorescence anisotropy with direct triplet state excitation

Z. Gryczynski, J. Kimball, R. Fudala, J. Chavez, L. Ceresa, M. Szabelski, J. Borejdo, I. Gryczynski

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We report the spectral properties of 2-Phenylindole (2PI) embedded in rigid poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) film. The 2PI in PVA film shows relatively strong and structured fluorescence with a maximum at 370 nm and surprisingly strong room temperature phosphorescence with an emission maximum of about 500 nm. The dye is highly immobilized in the polymer matrix, thus presenting high fluorescence anisotropy in an isotropic film of about 0.3 at room temperature. The 2-Phenylindole phosphorescence excited in the usual way through the electronic singlet state excitation (S0 → S1 absorption) results in a very low, near zero anisotropy. We now report that we can directly excite the dye to the triplet state T1 and observe high phosphorescence anisotropy similar to the fluorescence anisotropy. The extinction coefficient for S0 → T1 absorption in the PVA matrix is unusually high- only about 3 orders of magnitude lower than S0 → S1 absorption. We consider this direct excitation to indole's triplet state a very significant finding that may lead to many practical applications. The unusually long-wavelength of excitation around 400 nm, much above typical UV absorption, results in a high phosphorescence anisotropy. This provides a new way to study rotational motion of larger biological objects in the microsecond time scale not accessible through typical fluorescence studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014008
JournalMethods and Applications in Fluorescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020



  • 2-Phenylindole
  • anisotropy
  • fluorescence
  • indole
  • phosphorescence
  • phosphorescence lifetime
  • polarization

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