Researchers develop ultra-bright molecule

January 22, 2020 //By
A unique molecular design developed by Hokkaido University researchers causes a europium complex to shine more than five times brighter than the best previous design when it absorbs low energy blue light.

Published under the paper title “Stacked nanocarbon photosensitizer for efficient blue light excited Eu(III) emission” in the Communications Chemistry journal, the findings could lead to more efficient photosensitizers with a wide variety of applications, including the manufacture of molecular light-emitting devices.

The europium Eu(III) complex with nanocarbon antenna
emitting fine red light.

Photosensitizers are molecules that become excited when they absorb light and then transfer this excited energy to another molecule. They are used in photochemical reactions, energy conversion systems, and in photodynamic therapy, which uses light to kill some kinds of early-stage cancer.

The design of currently available photosensitizers often leads to inevitable energy loss, and so they are not as efficient in light absorption and energy transfer as scientists would like. It also requires high energy light such as UV for excitation.

The new photosensitizer concept is based on extending the lifetime of a molecular energy state called the triplet excited state and reducing gaps between energy levels within the photosensitizer molecule, aiming to more efficiently use the photons by reducing energy losses.

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