Revealing competitive Förster-type resonance energy-transfer pathways in single bichromophoric molecules

Johan Hofkens, Mircea Cotlet, Tom Vosch, Philip Tinnefeld, Kenneth D. Weston, Christophe Ego, Andrew Grimsdale, Klaus Müllen, David Beljonne, Jean Luc Brédas, Sven Jordens, Gerd Schweitzer, Markus Sauer, Frans De Schryver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


We demonstrate measurements of the efficiency of competing Förster-type energy-transfer pathways in single bichromophoric systems by monitoring simultaneously the fluorescence intensity, fluorescence lifetime, and the number of independent emitters with time. Peryleneimide end-capped fluorene trimers, hexamers, and polymers with interchromophore distances of 3.4, 5.9, and on average 42 nm, respectively, served as bichromophoric systems. Because of different energy-transfer efficiencies, variations in the interchromophore distance enable the switching between homoenergy transfer (energy hopping), singlet-singlet annihilation, and singlet-triplet annihilation. The data suggest that similar energy-transfer pathways have to be considered in the analysis of single-molecule trajectories of donor/acceptor pairs as well as in natural and synthetic multichromophoric systems such as light-harvesting antennas, oligomeric fluorescent proteins, and dendrimers. Here we report selectively visualization of different energy-transfer pathways taking place between identical fluorophores in individual bichromophoric molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13146-13151
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 11 2003

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