Photochemical "triode" molecular signal transducer

Amy E. Keirstead, James W. Bridgewater, Yuichi Terazono, Gerdenis Kodis, Stephen Straight, Paul A. Liddell, Ana Moore, Thomas Moore, Devens Gust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A molecular "hexad" in which five bis(phenylethynyl)anthracene (BPEA) fluorophores and a dithienylethene photochrome are organized by a central hexaphenylbenzene unit has been prepared. Singlet-singlet energy transfer among the BPEA units occurs on the 0.4 and 60 ps time scales, and when the dithienylethene is in the open form, the BPEA units fluoresce in the 515 nm region with a quantum yield near unity. When the dithienylethene is photoisomerized by UV light to the closed form, which absorbs in the 500-700 nm region, the closed isomer strongly quenches all of the excited singlet states of BPEA via energy transfer, causing the fluorescence quantum yield to drop to near zero. This photochemical behavior permits the hexad to function in a manner analogous to a triode vacuum tube or transistor. When a solution of the hexad is irradiated with steady-state light at 350 nm and with red light (>610 nm) of modulated intensity, the BPEA fluorescence excited by the 350 nm light is modulated accordingly. The fluorescence corresponds to the output of a triode tube or transistor and the modulated red light to the grid signal of the tube or gate voltage of the transistor. Frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, and phase modulation are all observed. The unusual ability to modulate intense, shorter-wavelength fluorescence with longer-wavelength light could be useful for the detection of fluorescence from probe molecules without interference from other emitters in biomolecular or nanotechnological applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6588-6595
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 12 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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