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J Am Chem Soc. 2002 Jun 26;124(25):7481-9.

Diheteroarylethenes as thermally stable photoswitchable acceptors in photochromic fluorescence resonance energy transfer (pcFRET).

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Departamento de Química Orgánica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, PROPLAME-CONICET, Ciudad Universitaria-Pabellón II, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


We have employed diheteroarylethenes as acceptors for photochromic FRET (pcFRET), a technique introduced for the quantitative determination of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). In pcFRET, the fluorescent emission of the donor is modulated by cyclical transformations of a photochromic acceptor. Light induces a reversible change in the structure and, concomitantly, in the absorption properties of the acceptor. Only the closed forms of the selected diheteroarylethenes 2a and 2b have an absorption band overlapping the emission band of the donor, 1. The corresponding variation in the overlap integral (and thus critical transfer distance R(o)) between the two states provides the means for reversibly switching the process of FRET on and off, allowing direct and repeated evaluation of the relative changes in the donor fluorescence quantum yield. The diheteroarylethenes demonstrate excellent stability in aqueous media, an absence of thermal back reactions, and negligible fatigue. The equilibration of these systems after exposure to near-UV or visible light follows simple monoexponential kinetics. We developed a general conceptual scheme for such coupled photochromic-FRET reactions, allowing quantitative interpretations of the photostationary and kinetic data, from which the quantum yields for the cyclization and cycloreversion reactions of the photochromic acceptor were calculated.


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