Optical Sciences

Biomolecules and nanostructures

The Optical Sciences group studies the interaction of light and matter. Our current focus is on detection and sensing/imaging with an emphasis on the development of integrated photonics. We are part of Twente University's Department of Science and Technology and member of the MESA+ institute.


Fluorescence lifetime fluctuations of single molecules probe local density fluctuations in disordered media: A bulk approach

(full pdf)

R.A.L. Vallée, N. Tomczak, G.J. Vancso, L. Kuipers and N.F. van Hulst
Journal of Chemical Physics
vol 122 issue 11 p114704 march 15 2005

We investigated the nanometer scale mobility of polymers in the glassy state by monitoring the dynamics of embedded single fluorophores. Recently we reported on fluorescence lifetime fluctuations which reflect the segmental rearrangement dynamics of the polymer in the surroundings of the single molecule probe. Here we focus on the nature of these fluorescence lifetime fluctuations. First the potential role of quenching and molecular conformational changes is discussed. Next we concentrate on the influence of the radiative density of states on the spontaneous emission of individual dye molecules embedded in a polymer. To this end we present a theory connecting the effective-medium theory to a cell-hole model, originating from the Simha-Somcynsky free-volume theory. The relation between the derived distributions of free volume and fluorescence lifetime allows one to determine the number of segments involved in the local rearrangement directly from experimental data. Results for two different polymers as a function of temperature are presented. copyright 2005 American Institute of Physics
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