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The Gas-Phase Photophysics of Eosin Y and its Maleimide Conjugate

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journal contribution
posted on 27.04.2016 by Steven Daly, Alexander Kulesza, Geoffrey Knight, Luke MacAleese, Rodolphe Antoine, Philippe Dugourd
The use of the xanthene family of dyes as fluorescent probes in a wide range of applications has provided impetus for the studying of their photophysical properties. In particular, recent advances in gas-phase techniques such as FRET that utilize such chromophores have placed a greater importance on the characterization of these properties in the gas phase. Additionally, the use of synthetic linker chains to graft the chromophores in a site-specific manner to their target system is ubiquitous. There is, however, often limited information on how the addition of such a linker chain may affect the photophysical properties of the chromophores, which is of fundamental importance for interpretation of experimental data reliant on grafted chromophores. Here, we present data on the optical spectroscopy of different protonation states of Eosin Y, a fluorescein derivative. We compare the photophysics of Eosin Y to its maleimide conjugate, and to the thioether product of the reaction of this conjugate with cysteamine. Comparison of the mass spectra following laser irradiation shows that very different relaxation takes place upon addition of the maleimide moiety but that the photophysics of the bare chromophore are restored upon addition of cysteamine. This radical change in the photophysics is interpreted in terms of charge-transfer states, whose energy relative to the S1 ← S0 transition of the chromophore is dependent on the conjugation of the maleimide moiety. We also show that the shape of the absorption band is unchanged in the gas-phase as compared to the solution-phase, showing a maximum with a shoulder toward the blue, and examination of isotope distributions of the isolated ions show that this shoulder cannot be due to the presence of dimers. Consideration of the fluorescence emission spectrum allows a tentative assignment of the shoulder to be due to a vibrational progression with a high Franck–Condon factor.