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Multimode Surface Functional Group Determination: Combining Steady-State and Time-Resolved Fluorescence with X‑ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Absorption Measurements for Absolute Quantification

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journal contribution
posted on 19.01.2016, 00:00 by Tobias Fischer, Paul M. Dietrich, Wolfgang E. S. Unger, Knut Rurack
The quantitative determination of surface functional groups is approached in a straightforward laboratory-based method with high reliability. The application of a multimode BODIPY-type fluorescence, photometry, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) label allows estimation of the labeling ratio, i.e., the ratio of functional groups carrying a label after reaction, from the elemental ratios of nitrogen and fluorine. The amount of label on the surface is quantified with UV/vis spectrophotometry based on the molar absorption coefficient as molecular property. The investigated surfaces with varying density are prepared by codeposition of 3-(aminopropyl)­triethoxysilane (APTES) and cyanoethyltriethoxysilane (CETES) from vapor. These surfaces show high functional group densities that result in significant fluorescence quenching of surface-bound labels. Since alternative quantification of the label on the surface is available through XPS and photometry, a novel method to quantitatively account for fluorescence quenching based on fluorescence lifetime (τ) measurements is shown. Due to the complex distribution of τ on high-density surfaces, the stretched exponential (or Kohlrausch) function is required to determine representative mean lifetimes. The approach is extended to a commercial Rhodamine B isothiocyanate (RITC) label, clearly revealing the problems that arise from such charged labels used in conjunction with silane surfaces.