Analysis of phosphorescence decay in heterogeneous systems: Consequences of finite excitation flash duration

Aleksander S. Golub, Aleksander S. Popel, Lei Zheng, Roland N. Pittman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analysis of phosphorescence lifetimes using the Stern-Volmer equation is a reliable means of determining quencher concentration for a uniform sample. Methods of analysis for heterogeneous systems are based on the assumption that the excitation is produced by a momentary flash. This condition is an idealization because a real flash has a finite duration and a complex time profile. In the case of a heterogeneous quencher concentration, an excitation flash produces different initial intensities and different times of peak intensity from compartments having different concentrations of quencher. We formulated a model to explore the effects of flash duration on the shape of the emission curve obtained from systems in which the heterogeneity is continuous. We developed mathematical models that can be used to recover fitting parameters of continuous distributions of reciprocal life-times approximated as rectangular or Gaussian distributions, or an arbitrary histogram. We also formulated a procedure to convert the distribution of reciprocal life-times into a volume distribution of quencher concentration. We found that (1) the Stern-Volmer ratio of phosphorescence intensities cannot be employed for interpretation of pulse phosphorometric data in terms of a volume distribution of quencher; (2) shortening the flash duration decreases the difference of initial intensities between compartments having high and low quencher concentration; (3) the parameters of the volume distribution of quencher concentration can be recovered correctly only after taking account of the difference in initial intensities; and (4) calibration of the initial intensities for a given fitting delay and flash function is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-632
Number of pages9
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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